Sunday, August 02, 2015

The Most Magnificent Maps of the Week


The disorientating effect of the Elastic Terrain Map could mean that it won't be adopted too widely. However it is a very interesting way of visualizing elevation data to give a 3d effect for terrain layers.

The map is billed as a new way to visualize terrain data - and it is certainly that. The magic of the Elastic Terrain Map happens when you pan the map. Wiggle the map and watch it wobble. As you pan and move around the different parts of the map move at different speeds based on the elevation data. The result is that valleys and peaks on the map become much more apparent.


I do love a good collection of vintage maps and the Harvard Map Collection's Sea Atlases is a truly great one. Sea Atlases is a new interactive map showcasing some of the fabulous historical sea charts in the Harvard Map Collection.

Ten atlas volumes were digitized by the Harvard Map Collection, and then georeferenced in order to be able to place them on top of a modern day interactive map. Being able to explore these fantastic vintage sea charts is of course the main attraction of Sea Atlases, but this is only made possible by the beautifully intuitive and well designed interface that allows you to explore the collection by date and by location.


This week I was also really impressed with How to Find Lenin Square, an investigation into the legacy of Soviet rule on the etymology of Ukrainian street names. Twenty Four years after gaining independence from Russia the cities of Ukraine still bear the scars of Soviet rule. The cultural hegemony of Russia over Ukraine can be seen in the country's maps, particularly in the preponderance of Soviet street names.

How to Find Lenin Square is a detailed analysis of the frequency and preponderance of Soviet street names in Ukraine. The article includes a number of maps of Ukrainian cities, in which the streets with Soviet era names are colored red. Some of the most popular Russian street names include 'Lenin', 'Felix Dzerzhinsky' (founder of the Russian secret police) and references to the Soviet space program.
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