Category Archives: Map

Steve Heller, Alberto Cairo, and The World in Terms of General Motors

World in Terms of GM Cutout

Readers:

The other day on Twitter, Albert Cairo tweeted about a great visual map he found in a 1938 issue of Fortune Magazine at Steve Heller’s Moving Sale on Saturday, June 28th, 2014 in New York City.

Alberto Cairo GM Tweet

Daily Heller Moving Sale

Steve Heller

Steve HellerSteven Heller wears many hats (in addition to the New York Yankees): For 33 years he was an art director at the New York Times, originally on the OpEd Page and for almost 30 of those years with the New York Times Book Review. Currently, he is co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author Department, Special Consultant to the President of SVA for New Programs, and writes the Visuals column for the New York Times Book Review.

He is the co-founder and co-chair (with Lita Talarico) of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts, New York, where he lectures on the history of graphic design. Prior to this, he lectured for 14 years on the history of illustration in the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program at the School of Visual arts. He also was director for ten years of SVA’s Modernism & Eclecticism: A History of American Graphic Design symposiums.

The World in Terms of General Motors

The visual in the December 1938 issue of Fortune Magazine was called The World in Terms of General Motors. It depicted a sketch map showing the location of (then) GM’s 110 plants. The spheres representing each plant are proportional (in volume) to their normal number of workers. The key numbers of the spheres are indexed on the map. The map does not include those manufacturing plants in which GM has less than 50% stock. The principal ones are Ethyl Gasoline Corp., Bendix Aviation Corp., Kinetic Chemicals, Inc., and North American Aviation, Inc.

Not shown are GM’s many non-manufacturing interests, domestic warehouses, etc.

So, finally, here is the complete map.

Enjoy!

Michael

[Click on the map image to enlarge]

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Mapping Time: A Detailed Look at Minard’s Flow Map

Charles Minard’s Map of Napoleon’s Russian Campaign of 1812

One of the most famous maps incorporating time was created in 1861 by Charles Minard, a French Engineer.  The map and chart, entitled, “Carte figurative des pertes successives en hommes de l’Armée Française dans la campagne de Russie 1812-1813″, brilliantly illustrated the march to and from the Polish-Russian border to Moscow by Napoleon’s army and was profiled in the article, Spatial Unmapped on GIS Lounge.

422,000 soldiers began the journey in June of 1812 towards Moscow and only 10,000 made it back to the border after the failed invasion.  Minard’s map has been acclaimed by many for its clear use of geography and time to show how devastating the invasion of Russia by France was on the troops.

Noted statistician and Yale professor, Edward Tufte, declared in his 1983 book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information that the Minard graph “may well be the best statistical graphic ever drawn.

Mapping Time

Esri Press has recently released a book inspired by Minard’s Map entitled, Mapping Time:

Published by Esri Press, Menno-Jan Kraak’s book Mapping Time: Illustrated by Minard’s Map of Napoleon’s Russian Campaign of 1812 combines historical and geographic analysis with cartography to examine mapping change over time.

The book includes more than 100 full-color illustrations inspired by graphic innovator Charles Minard’s classic flow line map of Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Russia.

Kraak is a professor of geovisual analytics and cartography at the University of Twente in Enschede, Netherlands who has also written the textbook, Cartography, Visualization of Geospatial Data.

Book details: Mapping Time: Illustrated by Minard’s Map of Napoleon’s Russian Campaign of 1812 is available in print (ISBN: 9781589483125, 168 pages, hardcover) and e-book format (ISBN: 9781589483668).

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DataViz as Maps: Thousands of Historic Maps Released by the New York Public Library

Map - California

The unique map of California, produced by the Southern Pacific Company in 1890. Click for more details

The Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division, New York Public Library (NYPL) has announced the release of more than 20,000 cartographic works as high-resolution downloads. The New York Public Library believes these maps have no known U.S. copyright restrictions.* To the extent that some jurisdictions grant NYPL an additional copyright in the digital reproductions of these maps, NYPL is distributing these images under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. The maps can be viewed through the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections page, and downloaded, through the Map Warper. You will first need to create an account, then click a map title and go.

Here’s a primer and more extended blog post on the warper.

Plan of Bay Ridge Parkway, Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot Landscape Architects, 1895

 What’s this means for all of us map lovers?

It means you can have the maps, all of them if you want, for free, in high resolution. NYPL has scanned them to enable their use in the broadest possible ways by the largest number of people.

Though not required, if you’d like to credit the New York Public Library, please use the following text “From The Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library.” Doing so helps them track what happens when they release collections like this to the public for free under really relaxed and open terms. NYPL believes their collections inspire all kinds of creativity, innovation and discovery, things they hold very dear.

Sanitary and social chart of the Fourth Ward of the City of New York, to accompany a report of the 4th Sanitary Inspection District. 1864

* The maps may be subject to rights of privacy, rights of publicity and other restrictions. It is your responsibility to make sure that you respect these rights.

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Infographics Related to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

Readers:

Like many other people around the World, I have been watching with curiosity and sadness the news about the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. On March 8th, Flight MH370 vanished from radar with 239 people on board.

Many media outlets have developed infographics to help us to try to understand what happened and what we know so far.

I have included several different infographics, from various media outlets, related to what looks like a sad tragedy. They are listed sequentially by date published.

My prayers go out to the families who are frantically waiting for any definitive news about the flight.

Regards,

Michael

Straits Times, Sunday, March 9, 2014

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Engineering & Technology Magazine, Monday, March 10, 2014

flight-mh370

Engineering & Technology Magazine, Wednesday, March 12, 2014

mh370-black-boxes

The New York Times, Wednesday, March 12, 2014

NYT - Detecting a Plane

NYT - Radar Path

NYT Malaysia Artboard

Channel NewsAsia, Thursday, March 13, 2014

mh370-quick-facts-data

South China Morning Post, Thursday, March 13, 2014

malayasia-air-crash

Dataviz as Maps: The First Map of Africa

Source: Josh Marshall, Artifacts #1: The First Map of Africa, talkingpointsmemo.com, March 7, 2014, http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/artifacts-1-the-first-map-of-africa.

Josh MarshallI haven’t shown a map in a while, so I thought I would share this one posted on talkingpointsmemo.com by Josh Marshall (photo, right).  Mr. Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Mr. Marshall notes that the map below is believed to be the first map of Africa, as a continent.  “Africa” was originally a Roman term for the region of modern Tunisia and the western portion of Libya. The Arabs later adopted a similar definition. But this is the first known map of the new concept of Africa as a continent stretching from North Africa down to a southern tip that could be rounded and from which you could then sail on to India and Asia.

Princeton University, Historic Maps Collection.

The map is the work of Sebastian Munster (1489-1552), a professor of Hebrew at the University of Basel. This is mid-16th century, so going on 60 years after Europeans first rounded the Cape of Good Hope to Asia, though the Portuguese had been exploring the western coast of Africa a good deal longer.

Mr. Marshall continues by saying that this map is a fascinating period in the history of European map-making since most were then being strung together through an odd partnership between university academics and printers in Europe on the one hand and explorers and traders on the other, the former still partly hung up on ancient ideas on the shape and outlines of the world as well as theories about where certain things must be and the latter with real observational data about what they’d seen.

Not surprisingly, North Africa is fairly accurate and the key rivers in West Africa bear at least some resemblance to their true locations.  Things get a good deal iffier about Central Africa and the scale of Subsaharan Africa. And there’s a pretty serious Ethiopia fail. It’s right over the one-eyed giants who live in Nigeria. When you consider the limited observational knowledge, extremely poor ability to measure distance, obstacles to communications and the fact that the key sea-faring powers treated all this information as state secrets, the degree of accuracy is fairly remarkable.

In viewing the map below, Mr. Marshall notes that still more remarkable is this Abraham Ortelius map from only 30 years later.  Published at Antwerp in 1584.

Princeton University. Historic Maps Collection.

As you can see, on a quick look this could almost be a modern map of Africa, though many things are distorted, not least the scale of the Red Sea relative to the rest of the continent.

Map: The Geographic Locations of Disney and Pixar Films Around the World

Digital artist Eowyn Smith has created a map of the world highlighting the location where animated films by Disney and Pixar took place. The fan art maps 44 Disney animated films 13 Pixar films. It reaches as far back as Disney’s first film, Snow White, and includes Disney’s 2013 release Frozen.

In traditional cartography fashion, Wall-E, Monsters, Inc., Dinosaur, Treasure Planet, and Wreck-It Ralph are given an inset. The films are variously set in the future, prehistoric past, or alternate universes.

The map has inspired fierce debate online, both on deviantART and reddit, as commenters fact checked the artwork. Smith clarified her process when she uploaded the fan art:

    1. Movie was placed based on the location IMPLIED IN THE DISNEY/PIXAR VERSION
    2. If the movie was too vague to determine a location, the original story/myth was consulted.

disney_map_by_theantilove-d3flfy6

Source: Katherine M. Hill, Laughing Squid,  February 11, 2014, http://laughingsquid.com/a-map-showing-the-geographic-locations-disney-and-pixar-films-around-the-world/.

Choropleth Map: Mapping Poverty in America

Readers:

Today I am going to show you a fantastic choropleth map created by Matthew Bloch, Matthew Ericson and Tom Giratikanon from The New York Times. Their graph maps poverty in America.

Now, before we look at the map, let’s discuss what a choropleth map is.

Best regards,

Michael

Choropleth Map

A choropleth map (Greek χώρο– + πλήθ[ος]), (“area/region” + “multitude”) is a thematic map in which areas are shaded or patterned in proportion to the measurement of the statistical variable being displayed on the map, such as population density or per-capita income.

The choropleth map provides an easy way to visualize how a measurement varies across a geographic area or it shows the level of variability within a region.

A special type of choropleth map is a prism map, a three-dimensional map in which a given region’s height on the map is proportional to the statistical variable’s value for that region.

Overview

The earliest known choropleth map was created in 1826 by Baron Pierre Charles Dupin. The term “choroplethe map” was introduced 1938 by the geographer John Kirtland Wright in “Problems in Population Mapping”.

Choropleth maps are based on statistical data aggregated over previously defined regions (e.g., counties), in contrast to area-class and isarithmic maps, in which region boundaries are defined by data patterns. Thus, where defined regions are important to a discussion, as in an election map divided by electoral regions, choropleths are preferred.

Where real-world patterns may not conform to the regions discussed, issues such as the ecological fallacy and the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP) can lead to major misinterpretations, and other techniques are preferable. Choropleth maps are frequently used in inappropriate applications due to the abundance of choropleth data and the ease of design using Geographic Information Systems.

Incorrect (population, left) and correct (population density, right) application of a choropleth to data for Boston, Massachusetts

The dasymetric technique can be thought of as a compromise approach in many situations. Broadly speaking choropleths represent two types of data: Spatially Extensive or Spatially Intensive.

  • Spatially Extensive data are things like populations. The population of the UK might be 60 million, but it would not be accurate to arbitrarily cut the UK into two halves of equal area and say that the population of each half of the UK is 30 million.
  • Spatially Intensive data are things like rates, densities and proportions, which can be thought of conceptually as field data that is averaged over an area. Though the UK’s 60 million inhabitants occupy an area of about 240,000 km2, and the population density is therefore about 250/km2, arbitrary halves of equal area would not also both have the same population density.

Another common error in choropleths is the use of raw data values to represent magnitude rather than normalized values to produce a map of densities. This is problematic because the eye naturally integrates over areas of the same color, giving undue prominence to larger polygons of moderate magnitude and minimizing the significance of smaller polygons with high magnitudes. Compare the circled features in the maps at right.

Color Progression

When mapping quantitative data, a specific color progression should be used to depict the data properly. There are several different types of color progressions used by cartographers. The following are described in detail in Robinson et al. (1995)

Single hue progression

Single-hue progressions fade from a dark shade of the chosen color to a very light or white shade of relatively the same hue. This is a common method used to map magnitude. The darkest hue represents the greatest number in the data set and the lightest shade representing the least number.

Two variables may be shown through the use of two overprinted single color scales. The hues typically used are from red to white for the first data set and blue to white for the second, they are then overprinted to produce varying hues. These type of maps show the magnitude of the values in relation to each other.

Bi-polar color progression

Bi-polar progressions are normally used with two opposite hues to show a change in value from negative to positive or on either side of some either central tendency, such as the mean of the variable being mapped or other significant value like room temperature. For example a typical progression when mapping temperatures is from dark blue (for cold) to dark red (for hot) with white in the middle. When one extreme can be considered better than the other (as in this map of life expectancy) then it is common to denote the poor alternative with shades of red, and the good alternative with green.

Complementary hue progressions are a type of bi-polar progression. This can be done with any of the complementary colors and will fade from each of the darker end point hues into a gray shade representing the middle. An example would be using blue and yellow as the two end points.

Blended hue color progression

Blended hue progressions use related hues to blend together the two end point hues. This type of color progression is typically used to show elevation changes. For example from yellow through orange to brown.

Partial spectral color progression

Partial spectral hue progressions are used to map mixtures of two distinct sets of data. This type of hue progression will blend two adjacent opponent hues and show the magnitude of the mixing data classes.

Full-spectral color progression

Full spectral progression contains hues from blue through red. This is common on relief maps and modern weather maps. This type of progression is not recommended under other circumstances because certain color connotations can confuse the map user.

Value progression

Value progression maps are monochromatic. Although any color may be used, the archetype is from black to white with intervening shades of gray that represent magnitude. According to Robinson et al. (1995). this is the best way to portray a magnitude message to the map audience. It is clearly understood by the user and easy to produce in print.

Usability

When using any of these methods there are two important principles: first is that darker colors are perceived as being higher in magnitude and second is that while there are millions of color variations the human eye is limited to how many colors it can easily distinguish. Generally five to seven color categories is recommended. The map user should be able to easily identify the implied magnitude of the hue and match it with the legend.

Additional considerations include color blindness and various reproduction techniques. For example, the red–green bi-polar progression described in the section above is likely to cause problems for dichromats. A related issue is that color scales which rely primarily on hue with insufficient variation in saturation or intensity may be compromised if reproduced with a black and white device; if a map is legible in black and white, then a prospective user’s perception of color is irrelevant.

Color can greatly enhance the communication between the cartographer and their audience but poor color choice can result in a map that is neither effective nor appealing to the map user; sometimes simpler is better.

Mapping Poverty in America: A View of Philadelphia

Below is a screenshot of the choropleth map from The New York Times Web site. For my example, I focused on Philadelphia (no specific reason; just the one I happened to click on).

To view the actual interactive version of this map, just click on the image below.

Mapping Poverty in America - 1

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References

[1] Michael Friendly (2008). “Milestones in the history of thematic cartography, statistical graphics, and data visualization”.

[2] T. Slocum, R. McMaster, F. Kessler, H. Howard (2009). Thematic Cartography and Geovisualization, Third Edn, pages 85-86. Pearson Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ.

[3] Mark Monmonier (1991). How to Lie with Maps. pp. 22-23. University of Chicago Press

[4] Robinson, A.H., Morrison, J.L., Muehrke, P.C., Kimmerling, A.J. & Guptill, S.C. (1995) Elements of Cartography. (6th Edition), New York: Wiley.

[5] Patricia Cohen (9 August 2011). “What Digital Maps Can Tell Us About the American Way”. New York Times.

[6] Light et al. (2004). “The End of the Rainbow? Color Schemes for Improved Data Graphics””. pp. 385. Eos,Vol. 85, No. 40, 5 October 2004.

Timeline Maps: The Cartography of Time

Mapping time has long been an interest of cartographers. Visualizing historical events in a timeline or chart or diagram is an effective way to show the rise and fall of empires and states, religious history, and important human and natural occurrences. To see more interesting maps ranging in date from 1770 to 1967, visit over 100 examples in the Rumsey Map Collection.

Bayer2 Timeline Maps   the cartography of Time

Adams3 Timeline Maps   the cartography of Time

Pick1 Timeline Maps   the cartography of Time WillardTimeline1 1 Timeline Maps   the cartography of Time

Rand3 Timeline Maps   the cartography of Time

WIRED: Mapping America’s Restless Interstate Migration Without a Map

California Migration [Click image to go to WIRED article]

Source: BETSY MASON, 11/20/2013, WIRED

There is a temptation with any kind of data that has a geographical aspect to display it on a map. While maps are by far the best way to convey many of these data, sometimes they are not. This is one of those times.

Even though data on migration between states would seem to cry out to be mapped, this circular visualization by independent data journalist Chris Walker (@cpwalker07) can convey a lot of information far more neatly than a map. Patterns leap out that might have been obscured on a single map, or required many maps to convey the same information (see images below).

“It’s useful to think beyond maps especially for cases where you want to show interconnectedness between regions, which is what I was trying to do,” Walker wrote in an email to WIRED.

[NOTE: The interactive map discussed below can be found on WIRED's site by clicking the link here. I should note that it worked best for me using Google Chrome]

When I first saw Walker’s migration circle (which he built using D3.js), it looked like a jumble that was impossible to untangle, but that’s before I realized it was interactive. If you haven’t already, mouse over the graphic to display information from single states to see where people from that state moved to last year, and where the people who moved into that state came from. More than 7 million Americans moved within the country, so if you’re looking for a time sink, you’ll find it in this circle.

“I think we can learn a lot from migration patterns,” Walker wrote in an email. “In a way, migration flows are one of the oldest forms of crowdsourcing. They tell you which geographies the crowd deems to be low-opportunity, and which the crowd deems to be high-opportunity.”

I live in California, so I started there. I love this state, and it seems to me people are moving here all the time. But it turns out, more people are leaving (73,345 more). As you can see in the snapshot to the right, Californians don’t usually stray too far though, tending to migrate to other western states. Or Texas. A likely explanation for the outflux is that you could buy a mansion in some parts of the country for the same amount as a 2 bed, 1 bath house in the Bay Area.

Despite the initial jumble, a couple of things jump out before you even begin interacting with the graphic. A lot of people are moving out of New York (135,793 net loss) and ending up all over the place, including the other side of the country. The same is true for the Midwest, with people mostly landing in the Southeast, Southwest and California. These trends are clearer when you look at individual states, but the broader trends would be easier to grasp if you could mouse over the region names to see where, say, everyone in the Northeast moved.

One thing to note as you look at what’s happening with New York, for example, is that only exchanges of at least 10,000 people are depicted. This, Walker says in his blog post, is to keep the graphic from becoming to messy. So, while many people are moving into New York, most of them aren’t shown because they are coming from many different places in smaller numbers.

Some of the other things Walker noticed include that fact that a lot of people are moving to Florida, many of them likely retirees. “Interestingly the state contributing the most migrants to Florida is neighboring Georgia,” Walker wrote in his blog. “Texas, New York and North Carolina are the next largest contributors.”

The second largest draw for migrants was Texas. “Over 500,000 people moved to Texas in 2012,” Walker wrote. “People tend to come from the Southeast, Southwest and the West, with the biggest contributor being California. 62,702 Californians packed up and moved to the Lone Star state in 2012.”

People who leave D.C. don’t really leave, generally moving next door to Virginia or Maryland. In contrast, people moving from Maine and Alaska are chasing the sun all the way to California and Florida. Check out his blog post for more insight.

In contrast to Walker’s circular visualization, old census atlases used maps to show the migration data. In August, we visited the Prelinger Library here in San Francisco and took a look at some of these atlases in their collection. In the images below, you can see how the data was displayed. On the right is a map showing where New York natives lived in 1890. New York has the most natives, unsurprisingly, and is the darkest. But the migration pattern is similar to 2012 with New Yorkers heading all over the place. These maps highlight some of the limitations of maps for displaying this kind of data.

Maps from the 1890 Census Atlas at the Prelinger Library in San Francisco. (Ariel Zambelich/WIRED)

Map Showing the Overland and Overseas Flights of Charles A. Lindbergh

Hello Readers:

As many of you know, I love historical maps. In particular ones that tell the story of a significant point in history. Below are snippets of the “Map Showing the Overland and Overseas Flights of Charles A. Lindbergh” in color. It was designed by Ernest Clegg and published by the John Day Company, New York in 1928. With informational boxes describing various flights. In carved wood frame.

A narrative of Lindbergh’s flight follows the images of the map in this blog entry.

I hope you find this as interesting as I do.

Best Regards,

Michael

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7:52 A.M., May 20, 1927

LuckyLindyAt 7:52 A.M., May 20, 1927 Charles Lindbergh gunned the engine of the “Spirit of St Louis” and aimed her down the dirt runway of Roosevelt Field, Long Island. Heavily laden with fuel, the plane bounced down the muddy field, gradually became airborne and barely cleared the telephone wires at the field’s edge. The crowd of 500 thought they had witnessed a miracle. Thirty-three and one half-hours and 3,500 miles later he landed in Paris, the first to fly the Atlantic alone.

Working as a mail pilot a year earlier he heard of the $25,000 prize for the first flight between New York and Paris. Backed by a group of St. Louis businessmen, Lindbergh supervised the building of his special plane and set out after the prize. Other teams were attempting the feat – some had met disaster. Lindbergh equipped himself with four sandwiches, two canteens of water and 451 gallons of gas. Midway through the flight “sleet began to cling to the plane. That worried me a great deal and I debated whether I should keep on or go back. I decided I must not think any more about going back.”

On the evening of May 21, he crossed the coast of France, followed the Seine River to Paris and touched down at Le Bourget Field at 10:22P.M. The waiting crowd of 100,000 rushed the plane. “I saw there was danger of killing people with my propeller and I quickly came to a stop.” He became an instant hero, “the Lone Eagle.” New York City gave him the largest ticker tape parade ever, the president awarded him the Distinguished Flying Cross. His feat electrified the nation and inspired enthusiastic interest in aviation.

Takeoff

7Bad weather and the prospect that his transatlantic flight would be delayed for a number of days greeted Lindbergh upon his arrival in New York. However, on May 19th, a favorable weather report predicted a break in the rain prompting Lindbergh to make his attempt the next day. He arrived at the airfield before dawn the next morning, prepared his plane for flight and began his historic journey:

About 7:40 A.M. the motor was started and at 7:52 I took off on the flight for Paris. The field was a little soft due to the rain during the night and the heavily loaded plane gathered speed very slowly. After passing the halfway mark, however, it was apparent that I would be able to clear the obstructions at the end. I passed over a tractor by about fifteen feet and a telephone line by about twenty, with a fair reserve of flying speed. I believe that the ship would have taken off from a hard field with at least five hundred pounds more weight. I turned slightly to the right to avoid some high trees on a hill directly ahead, but by the time I had gone a few hundred yards I had sufficient altitude to clear all obstructions and throttled the engine down to 1750 R.P.M. I took up a compass course at once and soon reached Long Island Sound where the Curtiss Oriole with its photographer, which had been escorting me, turned back.

Darkness

Lindbergh continued his flight over Cape Cod and Nova Scotia and headed for the open Atlantic as darkness fell:

Darkness set in about 8:15 and a thin, low fog formed over the sea through which the white bergs showed up with surprising clearness. This fog became thicker and increased in height until within two hours I was just skimming the top of storm clouds at about ten thousand feet. Even at this altitude there was a thick haze through which only the stars directly overhead could be seen. There was no moon and it was very dark. The tops of some of the storm clouds were several thousand feet above me and at one time, when I attempted to fly through one of the larger clouds, sleet started to collect on the plane and I was forced to turn around and get back into clear air immediately and then fly around any clouds which I could not get over.”

Ireland

6Lindbergh continued his course, at times skimming only 10 feet above the waves as he tried to find a way around the fog and maintain his course. The appearance of fishing boats below alerted him that he was nearing land:

The first indication of my approach to the European Coast was a small fishing boat which I first noticed a few miles ahead and slightly to the south of my course. There were several of these fishing boats grouped within a few miles of each other.

I flew over the first boat without seeing any signs of life. As I circled over the second, however, a man’s face appeared, looking out of the cabin window.

I have carried on short conversations with people on the ground by flying low with throttled engine, and shouting a question, and receiving the answer by some signal. When I saw this fisherman I decided to try to get him to point towards land. I had no sooner made the decision than the futility of the effort became apparent. In all likelihood he could not speak English, and even if he could he would undoubtedly be far too astounded to answer. However, I circled again and closing the throttle as the plane passed within a few feet of the boat I shouted, “Which way is Ireland?” Of course the attempt was useless, and I continued on my course.

Less than an hour later a rugged and semi-mountainous coastline appeared to the northeast. I was flying less than two hundred feet from the water when I sighted it. The shore was fairly distinct and not over ten or fifteen miles away. A light haze coupled with numerous storm areas had prevented my seeing it from a long distance.

The coastline came down from the north and curved towards the east. I had very little doubt that it was the southwestern end of Ireland, but in order to make sure I changed my course towards the nearest point of land.

I located Cape Valencia and Dingle Bay, then resumed my compass course towards Paris.

Landing

5Lindbergh flew over Ireland and then England at an altitude of about 1500 feet as he headed towards France. The weather cleared and flying conditions became almost perfect. The coast of France and the City of Cherbourg passed beneath his wings as darkness fell a second time during his flight.

The sun went down shortly after passing Cherbourg and soon the beacons along the Paris-London airway became visible.

I first saw the lights of Paris a little before 10 P.M., or 5 P.M., New York time, and a few minutes later I was circling the Eiffel Tower at an attitude of about four thousand feet.

The lights of Le Bourget were plainly visible, but appeared to be very close to Paris. I had understood that the field was farther from the city, so continued out to the northeast into the country for four or five miles to make sure that there was not another field farther out which might be Le Bourget. Then I returned and spiralled (sic) down closer to the lights. Presently I could make out long lines of hangars, and the roads appeared to be jammed with cars.

I flew low over the field once, then circled around into the wind and landed.

But suddenly, a hysterical, ecstatic crowd broke through the restraining ropes and stampeded toward him, cheering and shouting. As he opened the door, he was lifted down and hoisted onto the shoulders of the police, who carried him through the surging crowd, cries of “Vive” ringing through the night. He had conquered the Atlantic alone, covering 3,610 miles in 33 1/2 hours. He had won the Orteig prize!

From the balcony of the American Embassy the following morning, he responded briefly and modestly to the persistent calls of the great crowd which had gathered. For hours after he retreated back inside, they shouted, clapped, and waved their hats and handkerchiefs. In the days that followed, his fame as a hero grew to unbelievable proportions as he took Europe by storm. The President of France pinned the Legion of Honor upon the lapel of his borrowed suit and thousands of messages poured in upon him.

It was as if everyone saw in him something that they sought in themselves – a spirit of adventure and achievement in life. Somehow he represented the symbol of hope in a weary world, for there was something unique about his integrity, courage, and indifference to honors. “He had started with no purpose but to arrive. He remained with no desire but to serve. He sought nothing, he was offered all.”

Returning Home

4When he came home to America aboard the USS Memphis, a majestic convoy of warships and aircraft escorted him up the Chesapeake and Potomac to Washington. President Coolidge welcomed him home and bestowed the Distinguished Flying Cross upon him. His New York reception was the wildest in the city’s history as 4 million people lined the parade route and Mayor Jimmy Walker pinned New York’s Medal of Valor upon him. Finally, when it was all over, he turned and flew to St. Louis for a rest and to contemplate. His epic flight would become the one singular event which electrified the world and changed the whole course of history.

It was now that the Daniel Guggenheim Fund sponsored him on a three month nation-wide tour. Flying the “Spirit of St. Louis,” he touched down in 49 states, visited 92 cities, gave 147 speeches, and rode 1,290 miles in parades. Tired, but satisfied with the job he had done in promoting aviation, he returned to New York. He made a good will tour at the request of Ambassador Dwight Morrow. It was here that he first met Anne Morrow, daughter of the Ambassador, a meeting that would blossom into romance. After Mexico, he visited twelve other Central American and West Indies countries, conveying goodwill all along the 9,000 mile flight tour.

On March 21,1929, President Coolidge presented him with the nation’s highest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor. Throughout the rest of his life he would continue to serve America as an advisor on aviation. He resigned his commission as a Colonel in the reserves an April 29, 1941, but he served in the Pacific theater during World War II as a technical advisor. He taught American fighter pilots how to get increased range from their planes – as much as fifty percent more. He flew several combat missions in P-38 fighters and on at least one sortie shot down a Japanese plane. After the war, he continued to serve his country in many ways and on April 7, 1954, he was appointed a Brigadier General in the Air Force Reserves.

Certification of Charles Lindbergh’s flight required several documents to prove the performance

orteigprizeThe Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) – the World Air Sports Federation – is the sole organisation authorized to certify aeronautical and astronautical world records worlwide.

The certification of Charles Lindbergh’s flight required several documents to prove the performance. A sealed barograph, an instrument working with atmospheric pressure, was loaded on the aircraft; its six-hour cylinder recorded the altitudes flown and proved that the flight was uninterrupted. The start of the flight was attested by the US National Aeronautic Association and the Procès-verbal established by the Aéro-Club de France on Lindbergh’s arrival attested that the barograph was found sealed and reported that 322 litres of gas (85 gallons) remained in the sealed tanks. This Procès-verbal was signed by no less than 13 French officials, the US Ambassador Myron Herrick, the Belgian Air Attaché Willy Coppens and, of course Charles Lindbergh himself. Finally, the FAI General Secretary Paul Tissandier informed the National Aeronautic Association on August 31st, 1927, that Lindbergh’s flight was certified as the Class-C World Record for non-stop flight over a distance of 5809 kilometres”.

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Source:

[1] The Spirit of St. Louis 2 Project, The Flight, http://www.charleslindbergh.com/history/paris.asp.

[2] “Lindbergh Flies the Atlantic, 1927,” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (1999).

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