Dramatic Before and After Images of Indian Ocean Tsunami… In a Slider

The 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami killed more than 250,000 people in a single day. It is the most devastating tsunami in modern times. Two particularly striking satellite images show the devastation of the Banda Aceh coast, on the island of Sumatra, where the tsunami reached 6–12 m (19.7 ft-39.4 ft) and killed 167,000 people.

This Post is Really About Image Visualization Tools

You’ve probably seen many before/after photos of the 2004 Tsunami. I recently saw an image slider that caught my attention and thought worth a share. The following before/after images are displayed using Juxtapose Slider. Drag the center bar across to see the change:

About Juxtapose Slider

The slider is created using the free, open source, JuxtaposeJS. Its a handy tool that helps storytellers compare two pieces of similar media, including photos, and GIFs. It’s ideal for highlighting then/now or before/after stories that show the impact of single dramatic events. It was produced by the Northwestern University Knight Lab, created by Medill student Alex Duner.

JuxtaposeJS works on all devices. All you need to get started are links to the images you’d like to compare.

How Artboard Is Influencing Our 2nd Generation Products

I wrote the following  article for Mapdiva.com. It gives some insight into our thinking about app development with our next generation products.

In 2008, Mapdiva delivered Ortelius – the creative app for custom map design. Our drawing engine proved so rich and powerful that many of our customers encouraged us to build a general purpose graphic design app. When Artboard was born in 2011, we didn’t anticipate its impact our company.

“Simple. Powerful. Fun.” was our mantra for Artboard from day one. Since Ortelius is a more serious niche product, we didn’t anticipate how much Ortelius would be informed by this thinking. But “Simple. Powerful. Fun.” keeps us focused on the customer. It forces us to carefully consider each and every feature; to balance functionality with usability. It is simplicity and power that make Artboard a joy to use. Since Ortelius and Artboard are built on the same drawing engine, this naturally spills over across products.

That is why this year we will release Artboard 2 before Ortelius 2. Development of our next generation products is well underway, and it is interesting to see how Ortelius 2 is being informed by our development decisions with Artboard. As a sophisticated app, Ortelius is by its nature more complex. Yet Ortelius 2 will simplify the UI while increasing functionality. With both apps, we are paying attention to workflow, putting everything in reach, and giving you rich new features for even more to love.

P.S. We can’t yet announce exact release dates. We know it always takes more time and more coding than expected to make a project work. To quote an adage about software development, “the first 90 percent of the work is easy, the second 90 percent wears you down, and the last 90 percent – the attention to detail – makes a good product.”  Well, we’re in the last 90%. We’ll start posting sneak peeks soon!

 

Written History Needs Maps

Guest post by Pieter S. Burggraaf, 2015

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.

– From the pen of Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911)

The telling of history needs illustrative maps. In a rather simple view, history is the movement of people across geography in the past. Henry Walker and Don Bufkin captured this idea in their wonderful reference book Historical Atlas of Arizona. According to these authors, “History is the story of man—his actions, his comings and goings, and his settlements. As most of mankind’s actions and travels and the places” where men and women settled are “controlled by natural settings—terrain, climate, geography, and even geology—an understanding of the land is essential to an understanding of history.”(1)

Unfortunately, in so many books today about historic events, and even many of the classic books of yesterday, the text usually screams for a map to illustrate where events happened and what the people of the times thought they knew about the lay of the land. In many written histories, the maps used seem to have been an afterthought with authors or publishers plugging-in whatever they could find. Many times, the maps used do not provide the details that are necessary to support the text where the maps are called out. Often the maps used are disconnected from the period of history being discussed. Or, large maps are crammed into a small book format rendering them illegible.

When I began writing The Walker Party, The Revised Story my goal was to put equal effort into the many maps that I felt the work needed. It took some time for me to get map-making right—almost six months—but I eventually taught myself some basic cartography and developed techniques that suited my limited skills.

So, I have created each map in this book to fit legibly on a book-size page. Where possible, I have based the background geography and the positions of rivers, towns, and other geographic locations upon a period map. Each of my maps includes notation about its source. In addition, some of the maps in this book include reproductions of the original hachures—the classic symbols for representing geologic relief in cartography—from the source map.

Readers who are familiar with the areas depicted on the maps in this book will undoubtedly find misrepresentations compared to today’s maps. These should not be considered errors as such, but rather indicative of the incomplete knowledge of the territories of New Mexico and Arizona at the time. This will help the reader understand why the people in this story were often off by many miles when describing where they were or where they were going, or in many cases simply had no clue as to their whereabouts.

Finally, I have written extended captions that enable each map to stand alone with its intended information. I believe that you will find the maps that accompany this revised, more expansive story about the Walker party very informative, and I trust that the text will be equally rewarding.

by Pieter S. Burggraaf, 2015

Notes for Written History Needs Maps:
(1) Henry P. Walker, Don Bufkin, Historical Atlas of Arizona, Second Edition (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,1986), iii.

Excerpt from The Walker Party, The Revised Story: Across New Mexico and Arizona Territories and up the Hassayampa River, 1861-1863, by Pieter S. Burggraaf, available from Amazon.com. Used with permission. Read more about the book and view more of the maps in the Ortelius Showcase.

[Footnote to my readers: This article originally posted on the Mapdiva.com website, I thought it surely worth reposting. Forgive the shameless reference to my own commercial ventures.]

Mapdiva: Design Software for OS X

Mapdiva LLC is a partnership among Graham Cox and Jill Saligoe-Simmel to develop Ortelius™ – powerful map design software for the Mac OS X.

Mapdiva is about is enabling your creativity without breaking the bank. It is about keeping drawing as simple and direct as possible so you can focus your creative energy on content and design. It’s about always asking “how could we do that better/simpler/more direct?“ It’s about doing the expected so the app works like you expect it to — and the unexpected to surprise and delight.

We’re dedicated to making powerful, intuitive software so you can focus your creative energy on content & design.

Ortelius

Ortelius is software for cartography and map design, made exclusively for Mac OS X.

It features specialized drawing tools that ease the tedious tasks of manual map making, with attention to high quality graphics presentation. Unique features include the ability to create automatic junctions at road intersections, a rich selection of built-in cartographic styles and symbols, and style creation tools that enable intricate design.

Artboard

Artboard is graphics design software made exclusively for Mac OS X.

It features smart drawing tools and over 1700 built-in styles and editable vector clipart. Unique features include high-powered style creation tools, advanced object editing, and simple image editing tools. Vector drawings are composed of editable stacked objects and are infinitely scalable.

Jill Saligoe-Simmel is co-founder of Mapdiva. She is responsible for content, education, and business development. Jill works alongside Graham Cox, Mapdiva co-founder and lead developer, on product design.

Artboard Design & Illustration Software

Artboard is graphics design software made exclusively for Mac OS X.

It features smart drawing tools and a rich selection of built-in styles and editable vector clipart. Unique features include high-powered style creation tools that enable intricate design.

Jill Saligoe-Simmel is co-founder of Mapdiva. She is responsible for business management and content. Jill works alongside Graham Cox, Mapdiva co-founder and lead developer, on product design.

Natural Earth Data: Worldwide GIS Maps

If you’ve ever tried to find good, authoritative sources of free, public domain small-scale world map data you know it can be a daunting task. But not for long.

Natural Earth is a public domain map dataset available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110 million scales. Featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data, with Natural Earth you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with cartography or GIS software. It is a boon for geographers, cartographers, and GIS folks working from regional to world scales (small scale). I’ll predict it will also have tremendous impact in the geography education arena, where it is much needed.

This dataset allows you to make beautiful and authoritative political and physical world maps quickly – from the large wall map variety down to postcard size. Instead of spending time looking for data, you will be able to focus on using the map to tell your geographic story. You are able to map at the continent and country levels (including showing provinces and some local cities, regional, and “world” cities).

Tom Patterson and Nathaniel Kelso collaborated on the precursor to his first Natural Earth Raster project several years ago and they now preview Natural Earth Raster + Vector, a new free product that complements and expands on the previous work by providing detailed GIS linework at the 1:15,000,000 (1:15 million) scale and new versions of the raster product (including cross-blended hyspometric tints). The project was unveiled at the 2009 North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) annual meeting on October 7th.

From “First Look at Natural Earth Vector.” This is a NACIS and mapgiving co-branded product with assistance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison cartography lab, Florida State University, and others. You can read more updates on the project at Kelso’s Corner.

Making Natural Earth is a collaboration involving many volunteer NACIS members and cartographers around the globe. Jill Saligoe-Simmel, Mapdiva LLC, volunteered her time as a Research + Production Cartographer collaborating with the team managing the first release of worldwide country administrative units.

Mapping Historical Route 66 a Lifelong Passion

Mapdiva congratulates Tom Snyder, author of “Route 66: Traveler’s Guide and Roadside Companion,” on his recently published book edition. This fully revised and updated book includes dozens of elegant and easy-to-read new maps produced with the Ortelius software.

It was a labor of love as Tom spent months meticulously creating over 92 maps, as well as completely updating and expanding the bestselling guide itself, for the fourth edition.


More than twenty years after the original publication of Route 66, this completely updated and expanded guide will make the trip along the Mother Road easier and even more exciting. Responding to requests from readers and travelers, Tom offers up-to-date routings, elegant and easy-to-read new maps, and revised information on roadside attractions. Filled with love, high jinks, and mystery, the stories Snyder narrates truly capture the flavor of the Main Street of America. Cattle rustlers, gangsters, hitchhikers, and ghosts all make appearances in these nostalgic glimpses of history-in-the-making along America’s most famous highway.

Prizewinning author Tom Snyder was an early advocate of a Route 66 revival and his 1990 Route 66 Traveler’s Guide & Roadside Companion for St. Martin’s Press was the first guidebook to the old road written in more than forty years, as well as the first to map the route since its decertification in 1985. He lives on the West Coast, dividing his time among British Columbia, Washington, and California.

Route 66: Traveler’s Guide and Roadside Companion

Congratulations Tom, on your continued success!

Maps In Modern Web Design: Showcase and Examples from Smashing Magazine

In a world where digital mapping is exploding, Zach Dunn offers an excellent review of different types of web maps and their various purposes.

His article, Maps In Modern Web Design: Showcase and Examples (Smashing Magazine) explores existing trends, conventions and the possible future of interactive maps online.

This isn’t a lesson in cartography, rather a review of the important purposes that maps can serve in modern web design. Three main areas seem to represent the majority of tasks:

  1. Navigation and directions,
  2. Show relationships and trends geographically,
  3. Show points of interest.

Geared primarily toward a web-designer audience, this article is good review for GIS specialists and cartographers preparing maps for online content. Zach describes the different ways to navigate online maps (drill down for information, timeline, zoom, before-and-after, and points of interest), looks at future trends, and provides a nice showcase of maps for inspiration.

Archive of Artistic Shaded Relief Online

If you love older maps for their uniquely hand-crafted style, you are really going to love this new resource – Shaded Relief Archive.


Through the advancements of modern digital elevation technologies, we are quickly loosing previous generations’ hand-drafted relief maps to new techniques, closing cartography companies, and the trash-bins outside their doors. A few individuals are seeking to preserve these beautiful resources by creating a public digital archive of shaded relief maps for integration with modern cartographic products.

Tom Patterson, US National Park Service, and Bernhard Jenny, Oregon State University, introduced an archive of stunning artistically rendered shaded relief images at the 2010 NACIS Practical Cartography Day.

While digital elevation models and hill shading techniques are common in todays world of digital cartography, these data sets often fall short of communicating the natural relief patterns particularly for small-scale mapping. As is illustrated below, digital relief tends to offer too much detail (image 2). The manually rendered terrain (image 1) provides a sense of the terrain when looking at a large region or world view. Both images are registered to 1:50 million Natural Earth vector drainages.

1. Manual shaded relief by Herwig G. Schutzler of Latin America.

2. Digital shaded relief from downsampled SRTM data.

The images are georeferenced so you can use them with your small-scale mapping projects. Some shaded relief images are georeferenced and adjusted to fit the drainage network of the Natural Earth vector data. Data is stored in the GeoTIFF file format, a world file and reference coast lines in shape format are provided for each georeferenced image.

To add a quality of fine craftsmanship to your next project, check out this amazing resource today. If you know of a source that should be included, contributions are welcomed (please contact the authors).

On River Maps « somethingaboutmaps

Daniel Huffman of somethingaboutmaps has posted his stylish series of river maps, done in the style of Harry Beck‘s famous London Underground design.

His post on the topic is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in cartography. In addition to a preview of his river system maps, Daniel does an excellent job navigating us through his design process. Daniel has produced four of these maps so far, all of which are available for sale on Zazzle.

 

Side note: Over at Mapdiva they’re putting final touches on the next update of Ortelius. One enhancement to anticipate is direct label rotation – making this style of map easier to produce. Stay tuned!