Bursting with information and often incredibly beautiful – maps do more than just showing you where you are, or where you might be going. Here we tell the stories behind some fascinating examples.
The recently published Times History of the World in Maps features documents from ancient civilizations, through the medieval period, to some of the key events of the 20th Century.
Historian Philip Parker helped compile the accompanying text.
Maps that shaped the world
A treasure of the medieval world, it records how 13th Century scholars interpreted the world in spiritual as well as geographical terms.
The world depicted is centered on Jerusalem.
The single sheet of vellum features about 500 drawings – including cities and towns, events, plants and animals, plus strange mythical beasts.
The next image shows the first time that the name ‘America’ was used on a map as a term for the New World.
Named after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, the continent features on a section of modern day South America, from the 1507 Waldseemuller World Map, which originated from Germany.
The Battle of Gettysburg, in 1863, is widely considered the turning point of the US Civil War.
This map shows how Confederate and Union forces squared up against each other around the Pennsylvanian town.
The map was drawn relatively soon after the battle by a Union Army supporter – a northerner.
That’s why Confederate forces on it are termed ‘rebels’.
The shaded topography, showing ridges in the landscape, was included to help the public envisage how the battle played out.
George Bradshaw’s popular railway timetable guides, which were revised and republished long after his death, are what he is best known for.
But he was also a cartographer – and his map from 1852 reveals a dense network of railways lines spreading out across much of the UK.
Considering that passenger rail services were a relatively recent phenomenon, the explosion of branch and main lines – over a period of about 20 years – is remarkable.
The densest parts of the network are where industrialization was happening fastest.
Central Scotland, the north of England from Liverpool to Hull, and the Midlands.
There were fewer trains in southwest England and south Wales.
The close up city maps reveal just how much industrialization and urbanization was still to happen in the 19th Century.
Industrialisation was also a driving force for railway development in other countries.
This Gaylord Watson railroad map of the United States dates from the early 1870s.
From the northeastern seaboard, the rails have spread west – stretching to areas which hadn’t been part of the USA for that long.
The black ink hand-written annotation is what makes this relatively ordinary map of Cuba special.
President John F Kennedy was shown the map at a CIA briefing in 1962 – and it was he who marked where the Soviets had started to construct nuclear missile launch sites.
The map is a testament to the Cuban Missile Crisis – playing a physical role in the tension and drama, which saw the world brought to the brink of nuclear war.
The colored shapes on this map from 1973 show the South African government’s black homelands consolidation proposals.
Under the apartheid regime, the homelands – or Bantustans – were designed to be separate political entities.
Black inhabitants of these areas were deprived of their South African citizenship.
These mini states – never internationally recognized – were spread out, deliberately fragmented.
Happy New Year!
In late November, presumed North Korean hackers targeted Sony Pictures Entertainment in an unprecedented cyber attack. This resulted in the exposure of thousands of sensitive emails from Sony executives and threats to release more if the release of the film “The Interview” wasn’t canceled.
While this breach was indeed historically devastating, it’s not the first successful cyber attack on a big corporate powerhouse.
David McCandless and the folks over at Information Is Beautiful have put together an amazing infographic with the biggest data breaches in recent history. You can see when the attack happened, who it happened to, and how large the impact was.
I always encourage my social media friends to reset all of your passwords each new year. Now is the time to do so.
[Click on image to use the interactive version]
In the past, I have blogged about Dave Shute’s 2014 and ’s 2015 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar. Dave’s site is yourfirstvisit.net blog and discusses everything you need to know for your first visit to Walt Disney World.
Recently, Fred Hazelton of touringplans.com posted a variation of Dave’s calendar showing years 2010-2014 and 2015 projected. I have included Fred’s graph below with his explanation by month. Fred refers to his graph as “The Donut.”
For now, I am off to Disneyland…um…Disney World.
2010-2015 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar Donut
New Year’s Eve is fast approaching, which means 2015 will soon be upon us. Let’s take a quick look at the 2015 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar.
Disney World is a crowded place that attracts 50 million visitors per year, and 2015 will be no different. Below is the touringplans.com crowd calendar donut (until we find a better name) that shows the hot spots and low zones for Disney World crowds since 2010. There are three things we notice from the graphic right away: the extreme crowds of Christmas and Thanksgiving; the extreme crowds at Easter that fluctuate yearly depending on when Easter falls; and the low crowds of early September. But there are a lot of other little tidbits of information, as well; let’s take a closer look.
Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar 2015 – by month
The New Year’s rush should fade by Monday, January 5, quickly followed by crowded resorts during Marathon Weekend. We expect January to be a good month for visiting the parks in 2015 if you don’t mind the risk of cooler temperatures. Martin Luther King Jr. day is January’s only bump in crowds after New Year’s Day. Notice how January’s crowds have been slowly building over the years. We expect that trend to continue in 2015.
Mardi Gras and Presidents Day fall back to back in 2015, so watch out for major crowds that week. Avoid Magic Kingdom on Super Bowl Monday (after the big game) unless you want to see the parade. Any other time in February is manageable but busy.
Easter falls in early April in 2015, so March crowds will be influenced primarily by school breaks. There is enough variation in school schedules next year to make every week fairly busy throughout March. Early March is less crowded than late March.
Avoid the Easter crowds the first week of April, and you should find busy but manageable crowds the rest of the month. As we can see, the later in April you visit, the lighter the crowds become.
May crowds were light in 2014, but we expect slightly more moderate crowds in 2015. Memorial Day weekend is busy but not nearly as busy as most holidays – a good choice for a family trip if you want to minimize days off school. Star Wars Weekends highlight the event schedule in May and June, so watch out for bottlenecks at Disney Hollywood Studios on weekends.
As we see from the graphic, summer crowds are steady year in and year out, no matter the year. June 2015 will be hot, humid, and busy every day.
July 2015 will be like all other Julys: really hot, really humid, and very busy, especially around July 4th. Later in the month is less busy, but plan for large crowds every day. Extended hours in the summer allow for more options with your planning, so take advantage.
Think of August as two halves – early August with busy summer crowds and late August with smaller, fall-like crowds. If you plan to visit in August, the later the better.
Our favorite month for low crowds, if you can stand the heat. Crowds during the first two weeks of September 2014 were some of the lowest we’ve ever seen. Will 2015 be the same? Let’s hope so. What is clear is that September has the best, lightest crowds every year, by far.
Festive in a Not-So-Scary way, October is one of our favorite choices, too, but like January it has grown in popularity since 2010. October 2015 will bring steady crowds like we saw in 2014, but if you can avoid weekends, you will enjoy less crowded parks.
Thanksgiving crowds are among the busiest of the year, but we expect them to last only from the Tuesday before the big day until the Monday after in 2015. Other than that, November is a good time to visit, for crowds and weather.
Like August, December 2015 can be split into two groups. The moderate crowds of early December and the full-blown, five-alarm Christmas craziness of December 24 to January 2. Both halves of December are cool, festive, and worth doing, but not without a solid plan.
Happy Touring in 2015!
Source: Fred Hazelton, Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar 2015, touringplans.com, December 28, 2014, http://blog.touringplans.com/2014/12/28/walt-disney-world-crowds-2015/.
The Old World Language Families infographic from Stand Still Stay Silent Comic shows the “roots” of our modern languages. Follow each language’s path from bush to roots and discover how closely languages are related to each other.
Language trees for the language lovers! I’ve gathered pretty much all the data for this from ethnologue.com, which is an awesome well of information about language families. And if anyone finds some important language missing let me know! (Naturally most tiny languages didn’t make it on the graph, aww. There’s literally hundreds of them in the Indo-European family alone and I could only fit so many on this page, so most sub-1 mil. speaker languages that don’t have official status somewhere got the cut.)
Fantastic illustration that visualizes the evolution of all the modern languages! It’s a complex design that is intended for readers to dive deep and explore.
Knowing that the image itself will be shared as a stand-alone content piece, the image should include credits and links to the original site.
Matt Shaw, recently posted this blog on the Architizer web site. Mr. Shaw is an architecture writer, editor, etc. interested in political aesthetics, interaction design and comedy as formal generator.
Matt is the founder and co-editor of Mockitecture, a half-manifesto/half-satire collection of architectural debauchery. He has worked for the Columbia Laboratory for Architectural Broadcasting (C-Lab), Storefront for Art and Architecture, and been published in Beyond, Domus, Icon, and the Architect’s Newspaper. He recently finished writing and researching the guidebook Europe’s Top 100 Architecture and Design Schools, for Domus, and helped edit Reiser + Umemoto’s O-14: Projection and Reception for AA Publications. He has been an invited critic at numerous schools including Yale University, Syracuse University and UCLA.
Visit Matt’s Mockitecture web site by clicking here.
No Vacancy – Really?
Skyscrapers have long been a contest of sorts. Owners are secretive about the actual height of their buildings, so that others do not eclipse them before their time as tallest has come. The tricks that designers use to inflate tall buildings’ heights are impressive, too. Spires and decorative elements are often used to get those last few precious feet.
Image courtesy CTBUH
But underneath these shiny glass facades is another trick. A recent Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) study illustrates that big chunks of useless space are hidden at the top of many of the world’s skyscrapers in order to inflate their height. In fact, as much as one-third of a building’s height can be “vanity space.” Consider it space as decoration.
Burj Khalifa. Image courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill
The building that is set to be the world’s tallest, the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, set off the Council’s alarms. A case study suggested that the structure was designed with decorative, height-inflating space on top, inside of its unoccupied spire. This led the CTBUH to investigate this phenomenon in super-tall buildings, defining “vanity space” as “the distance between a skyscraper’s highest occupiable floor and its architectural top.”
Kingdon Tower. Image courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill
The current tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, has an enormous 800-foot spire that accounts for almost one-third of its 2,716-foot height. The building with the most useless decorative space is the Ukraina Hotel in Moscow. Its unoccupiable space makes up almost half, or 42 percent, of its 675-foot height. In the United Arab Emirates, we find some of the most “vain” skyscrapers, with an average of 19 percent vanity space, including the vainest super-tall, the Burj Al-Arab in Dubai, which has a useless 39 percent of its 1,053-foot height.
Burj Al-Arab. Image via www.amazingplacesonearth.com
This infographic is from Bill Gates’ blog from back in April of this year. It is probably more disturbing to see we are the second most dangerous animal in the world. The mosquito, which is very small, kills the most.
Here is part of what Bill notes.
What would you say is the most dangerous animal on Earth? Sharks? Snakes? Humans?
Of course the answer depends on how you define dangerous. Personally I’ve had a thing about sharks since the first time I saw Jaws. But if you’re judging by how many people are killed by an animal every year, then the answer isn’t any of the above. It’s mosquitoes.
When it comes to killing humans, no other animal even comes close.
What makes mosquitoes so dangerous? Despite their innocuous-sounding name—Spanish for “little fly”—they carry devastating diseases. The worst is malaria, which kills more than 600,000 people every year; another 200 million cases incapacitate people for days at a time. It threatens half of the world’s population and causes billions of dollars in lost productivity annually. Other mosquito-borne diseases include dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis.
There are more than 2,500 species of mosquito, and mosquitoes are found in every region of the world except Antarctica. During the peak breeding seasons, they outnumber every other animal on Earth, except termites and ants. They were responsible for tens of thousands of deaths during the construction of the Panama Canal. And they affect population patterns on a grand scale: In many malarial zones, the disease drives people inland and away from the coast, where the climate is more welcoming to mosquitoes.
Considering their impact, you might expect mosquitoes to get more attention than they do. Sharks kill fewer than a dozen people every year and in the U.S. they get a week dedicated to them on TV every year. Mosquitoes kill 50,000 times as many people, but if there’s a TV channel that features Mosquito Week, I haven’t heard about it.
That’s why we’re having Mosquito Week on the Gates Notes.
I hope you find this as interesting as I do.
Source: Haydn Simons, The Illustrated Game – A Map Of World Cup Brazil 2014, November 28, 2013, http://www.haydnsymons.com/news/the-illustrated-game-a-map-of-world-cup-brazil-2014/.
Haydn’s comments on creating this infographic:
Personally, I can’t think of anything better than illustration mixed with sport, or even better, football! While on Twitter the other day I stumbled across an online publication which features illustration and football, which showcases some great work, so I decided to try my hand at it too. After getting in touch with Joe, we decided that I would produce a guest illustration of Brazil World Cup 2014 map, showing the stadiums which are going to be used for the tournament. After researching (and seeing how much it’s going to cost Brazil!) I sketched out my idea from my sketchbook into this final illustrated map. The map includes stadiums like Rio De Janeiro, a fantastic stadium which overlooks the great city, where the final will be based. I really enjoyed researching about the World Cup 2014, and look forward to producing another illustration for ‘The Illustrated Game’. Be sure to check out their tumblr blog, it’s well worth a look at some great illustration on show.
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.
Steven 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.
[Click on the map image to enlarge]
La Coupe de Monde. La Copa del Mundo. The World Cup. No matter what language you say it in the biggest competition in football always means the same thing; a summer festival for millions watching the beautiful game.
Every edition of the World Cup is special in it’s own right but this year stands out from the rest; football is heading back to its spiritual home, Brazil.
The Seleção are aiming for a historic sixth triumph in front of an expectant home crowd – the pressure is on for Neymar & co. to deliver the goods in classic Jogo Bonito style.
Of course part of the World Cup legend are the iconic stadia; from the timeless twin towers of Wembley to the newly-revamped Maracanã which will take pride of place at this year’s tournament, these coliseums have provided the platforms for the most iconic moments in the history of the game.
The Grassform Group provided me their infographic of World Cup Final Stadiums. I have included it below for your review.
[Click on image to enlarge]