We might say with only slight exaggeration that the United States exists in its current state of economic and military well-being due to a peripheral constellation of sites found all over the world. These far-flung locations—such as rare-earth mines, telecommunications hubs and vaccine suppliers—are like geopolitical buttresses, as important for the internal operations of the United States as its own homeland security. However, this overseas network is neither seamless nor even necessarily identifiable as such. Rather, it is aggressively and deliberately discontiguous, and rarely acknowledged in any detail. That is what made the controversial release by WikiLeaks, in December 2010, of a long list of key infrastructural sites deemed vital to the national security of the United States so interesting...
Tag Archives | Maps
If the virtual world is increasingly competing with the physical one in importance, shouldn’t our maps include both? Refractal on this question, including a prescient 1945 map depicting the earth based around deep-sea cable connections:
In 2001, Martin Dodge and Rob Kitchin published An Atlas of Cyberspace. The atlas locates cyberspace along many dimensions: geographic maps of core fiber optic back bones, social maps showing the relationships between individual users in virtual worlds, hierarchy trees of web page design, etc.
“Great Circle” map designed as a bit of marketing ephemera for the Cable and Wireless Company, showing the global connectivity of its telecommunications network, with Britain centered representing its position as “hub of the world”, 1945.
Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games is the latest megaselling book to get the Hollywood treatment, ensuring that there will be few people who are unaware of the future nation of Panem. It is a nation located in a post-Apocalypse North America, leading to much speculation as to the exact location of the thirteen districts described in the book. The aimmyarrowshigh blog has developed a map using the phi spiral based on the sacred geometrical golden ratio.
It’s a bit of fun based on YA fiction, no need to pick it apart unduly, but if you have other ideas…
The geography-as-person trope goes back a long time, and remains haunting — are cities sentient beings? As we traverse streets and subway systems, are we merely red blood cells coursing through a giant body? And when a place’s key locations and arterials seem to mimic the human form, is it just our imagination? This idea is illustrated beautifully in a 1912 map, via Big Think:
The map, designed by Polly Hill, was part of a promotional brochure extolling the beauties, joys and pleasures to be sampled in Santa Cruz and environs — centred on the Casa del Rey Hotel, and the adjacent Casino.
More than a cartographic gimmick, the hand shape is also a clever way of representing the local geography, with the two outer fingers representing the coastal corridor and the three middle ones some of the valleys radiating northward through mountainous terrain.
Quantifying happiness isn't an easy task. Researchers at the Gallup World Poll went about it by surveying thousands of respondents in 155 countries, between 2005 and 2009, in order to measure two types of well-being. First they asked subjects to reflect on their overall satisfaction with their lives, and ranked their answers using a "life evaluation" score from 1 to 10. Then they asked questions about how each subject had felt the previous day. Those answers allowed researchers to score their "daily experiences"--things like whether they felt well-rested, respected, free of pain and intellectually engaged. Subjects that reported high scores were considered "thriving." The percentage of thriving individuals in each country determined our rankings.
Oversized shades have replaced pith helmets, but the new scramble for Africa has its share of adventurers, would-be saviors, and even turf battles. As Madonna's publicist explains, "She's focusing on Malawi. South Africa is Oprah's territory." The map takes a lighter look at the sometimes serious, sometimes silly business of celebrity altruism. For more on how Africa became the hottest continent for A-list do-gooders like Bono and Brangelina, see here. And if you're looking for a more sober approach, check out our recent package on human rights. Click on a country to learn which celebrity has claimed it, and how ...
Via Google Sightseeing, a series of aerial shots of Richmond, California that captured more than intended:
The ever increasing resolution of Google’s imagery has continued to reveal greater detail people’s lives, but this is the first time an aerial photgraph of such a graphic nature has been published on the site.
We can’t be sure about the details of the scene – there’s no sign of injury from this distance – but the number of police officers and vehicles (both marked and unmarked) suggests that this is unlikely to have been a case of accidental death.
Maps and directions are virtually worthless, as they have become ubiquitous. But what about the incomparable sensation of being lost? Much harder to come by. That’s where this guide comes in. (Eventually taking you back to where you started.) Via Pop-Up City:
Recent Chelsea College of Art & Design graduate Dan Cottrell has created a guide for the sole aim of getting lost. Pyschogeography is nothing new, but AWOL provides a beautifully simple design approach to the subject.
AWOL comes as a pack, consisting of a compass that doesn’t work, a simple poster and and a map that feature algorithmic walks, which always lovingly return you to your departure point – ensuring you can explore your surroundings worry-free.
BLDG BLOG writes that the exurbs of Washington, DC are scattered with office parks quietly housing organizations and companies connected to national security and government secrets. Drive though, and you may not notice, but your GPS could be jammed, giving incorrect directions, or even suggesting that you drive in an infinite U-turn loop. These are areas where maps suddenly go sour:
… Read the rest
In a fascinating detail from a series of articles published two years ago in the Washington Post, we learn about one way to hide classified government infrastructure in plain sight.
“Just outside Washington,” authors Dana Priest and William Arkin explain, in the exurbs of depopulated office parks and “huge buildings with row after row of opaque, blast-resistant windows,” there can be found what the authors describe as “the capital of an alternative geography of the United States, one defined by the concentration of top-secret government organizations and the companies that do work for them.” And it is cleverly camouflaged:
The existence of these clusters is so little known that most people don’t realize when they’re nearing the epicenter of Fort Meade’s, even when the GPS on their car dashboard suddenly begins giving incorrect directions, trapping the driver in a series of U-turns, because the government is jamming all nearby signals.
9eyes is one of the best collections of Google Street View screenshots, providing a haunting glimpse of the world we live in, culled from all seven continents and presented without context. Are all of these real? Some of the strangest entries can be confirmed as legitimate.