5. Map of the Day: Knock on Wood

5. Map of the Day: Knock on Wood

How would you define a map? A type in a popular search engine beginning with ‘G’, has a familiar definition, “a diagrammatic representation of an area of land or sea showing physical features, cities, roads, etc.”, and indeed the word map derives from the word ‘mappa’ meaning sheet/napkin. However, ironically though ‘map’ isn’t restricted to this two dimensional version we can fold up; as we all know, we live a digital age where you navigate the world around you with your laptop or smartphone too. But what happens if you live somewhere with little to no mobile internet signal and sub-zero temperatures most of the year round. And what are those odd, suspiciously shaped lumps of wood in the picture above?

Those are maps. Greenlandic wood maps to be precise, and rather than a true to scale, visual representation of the area, like a contemporary map would attempt, this provides a tactile, physical representation of the coastline. As one can see from the useful diagram below, this isn’t a crude attempt at carving the island of Greenland/Kalaallit Nunaat, but traces the contours of the same part of the coast of Greenland, up and down the same piece of wood. This is a much more resourceful and useful map, once you understand, which is adapted to the climate of the nomadic, hunter-gatherer culture that once existed, in some places still does exist. So what’s the point in showing this?  Okay, it’s not quite as interactive and different to most things in map blogs, but it’s quite interesting – it shows that long human desire and need in any culture or time to explore, map (used as a verb now), and have geographic knowledge of the world around us, something which didn’t just start with a Belgian mathematician called Gerardus Mercator.

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Some great old maps from Canada

I recently came across a copy of an old school book, “Picture Map Geography of Canada and Alaska” by Vernon Quinn, that includes charming woodcut picture maps by Bruno da Osimo, a then noted Italian illustrator, for each of the Canadian provinces (other than Nunavut, which was then part of the Northwest Territories). Originally published in 1944 […]

via Vintage Picture Map Geography of Canada — O’ Canada

3. Map of the Day – Map powered cars (ZAP MAP)

3. Map of the Day – Map powered cars (ZAP MAP)

Whether you drive an electric car, a ‘normal’ car, or don’t drive at all, this web and mobile (Android and iOS) application from ZapMap is well worth taking a look at. Powered by Google Maps API, this mapping tool provides the locations of electric car chargers, providing pop up boxes with the latest status of these charging points, types and directions on how to get there. Although the shading of the vector tiles is a bit gaudy, with an ability to log in, map and comment on charging points, there is potential for up-to-date community empowered mapping to provide latest running statuses and charging locations.

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2. Map of the Day: How much does your vote count?

2. Map of the Day: How much does your vote count?

Today’s map of the day touches on the thorny issue of…politics, though I’m not going to get into a political discussion; if you want to, please got the usual channels, i.e. YouTube comments section. This map from the Economist Intelligent Unit’s (EIU) Democracy Index is a simple, clear, but informative map (click here for full interactive version here).

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1. Map of the Day: Ventusky – fantastic, whatever the weather

1. Map of the Day: Ventusky – fantastic, whatever the weather

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In what I hope will be a regular feature, I will share my passion for all things geographic and cartographic with my ‘Map of the Day’ feature. Some may be simple maps, but interesting insight; others may be great examples of interactivity and web map development, or both.

Kicking this feature of is one of my favourite maps, Ventusky (https://www.ventusky.com), a meteorological web application developed by Czech company InMeteo in collaboration with Marek Mojzik and Martin Prantl. This web application has been around for some time now, with the recent addition ‘wave height simulation’, and provides weather prediction (and archive) animation based on weather models from Germany, USA and Canada (ICON, GFS, GEM respectively).

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