Vote by April 26th, 2010!
Public voting is open for The Bizarre Map Challenge and every vote counts! The Bizarre Map Challenge is a map design competition open to high school, college, and university students in the United States. The goals of this challenge are: to promote spatial thinking; increase awareness of geospatial technology; and inspire curiosity about geographic patterns and map representation in students and the broader public.
The Prizes (wow!)
- First Prize: $5,000
- Second Prize: $1,000
- Third Prize: $600
- and $200 each to the remaining top 10
Your participation through voting helps encourage young map-makers and demonstrates public support for this exciting, fun, and educational competition. Who knows, maybe next year someone you know will compete! Vote for your favorite map now and help spread the word. Voting ends 12:00pm Pacific Time, April 26, 2010.
The Bizarre Map Challenge competition is supported by the National GeoTech Center and San Diego State University.
When the press starts noticing geography, does that mean it is time for a comeback? In his recent article “Is Geography the New History,” Robert Butler poses the question about the dynamic and exciting role geography is playing again in our global society. Robert Butler writes the Going Green column in Intelligent Life.
If you’ve ever tried to find good, authoritative sources of free, public domain small-scale world data you know it can be a daunting task. But not for long. Natural Earth Vector is coming and it will be 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 will allow 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 will be able to map at the continent and country levels (including showing provinces and some local cities, regional, and “world” cities). The data will be fully attributed and we get into the nitty gritty details like disputed boundaries & tiny ocean islands and the beautiful with hypsometric tints & relief shading.
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 will be 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.
I’m looking forward seeing the first mapping application using virtual digital holograms. What is a virtual digital hologram you ask? It is very cool technology that creates a 3-d image you can move around via tracking from your webcam. The best place to check it out is GE’s fantastic implementation Plug Into the Smart Grid.
Think of the pieces that might be used for a mapping implementation – it may be aerial photography, digital elevation models, Sketchup and other 3-d models of buildings and cities. And now FLARToolkit is available as a free non-commercial license to pull those pieces together to create virtual digital holograms viewable by anyone with a webcam, printer, and Internet connection. Due to the novelty aspect of the technology, its biggest potential may be its use for marketing, communication, and education campaigns. If you’ve seen mapping or other fun uses of this technology, please share them!
NPR has produced a new interactive map of the U.S. energy grid and power sources. Included are several roll-over maps to see percent energy production by different states and by fuel type. It also includes an informative display of anticipated renewable (solar and wind) fuel sources incorporated into the grid over the next few decades. The maps are intuitive, well designed, and data sources are cited in the map’s footnotes. This is a good example of interactive map design for public education. It should serve as a terrific resource for educators to help students understand power production, renewable power supply, and power distribution in the U.S.
The interactive map is produced for NPR’s series, “Power Hungry: Re-Envisioning Electricity In The U.S.,” including over a dozen articles. One could easily imagine this series and maps being worked into the curriculum in middle through higher education, inviting students to explore questions about location, energy, and the future. From the site: “The U.S. electric grid is a complex network of independently owned and operated power plants and transmission lines. Aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption, has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation’s electrical systems.”
Hand-drawn sketching plays an important role in the digital arts. The larger a project is, and the more concepts a client will need to see, the more sketching will prove its worth in your design process. Consider using rough sketches for composition or layout options in your next project. Or push yourself to do a handful of thumbnail sketches before firing up your cartography software of choice. Create ten well thought out map design options (not seven to make three look good). Select three and refine each. Select one for final design.
In Role of Sketching in the Design Process, Sean Hodge discusses sketching for rapid concept development in traditional design. This same process should be considered in cartography.