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Strange Maps Posts

Cartographic curiosities

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Strange Maps

When Maps Stare Back: IJsseloog and Makian

5 days ago

I always go for the window seat on airplanes. I say always. To be honest, only recently did it dawn on me: It looks like a map down there! And then, on a recent flight over the Netherlands, I found the map staring back at me. I blinked first. Airplane windows are designed to let light in, not to ...

Strange Maps

40 Ways to Carve Up England

12 days ago

On 18 September, Scotland voted to stay in the UK by 55% to 45%: a wider margin than most expected, but still close enough to warrant the constitutional re-think promised by Westminster in the run-up to the referendum. This result will finally require an answer to the famous West Lothian ...

Strange Maps

Shrug This! Atlas and the Weight of Heaven

19 days ago

Ayn Rand almost called her last novel The Strike, but felt that her magnum opus deserved a more symbolic, less descriptive title. She settled on Atlas Shrugged, as explained by this conversation between two of the book's characters: "Mr. Rearden," said Francisco, his voice solemnly calm, "if ...

Strange Maps

Italy, Embiggened and Encircled

26 days ago

Why is Italy so big? And why is it fenced in on three sides? The map itself offers very few clues, but nothing piques the interest like a good old treasure hunt. Even if the treasure is our understanding of the map itself.  First clue: the title. L'Italia nei mari translates as 'Italy in the ...

Strange Maps

Kentucky Fried Britain

about 1 month ago

As Scots go to the polls to determine their future, one oracle has already decreed that independence is inevitable: Englishman Terry O'Neil discovered this piece of chicken in his KFC meal, and was struck by its resemblance to the contours of Britain -- minus Scotland. 

Strange Maps

The Geography of Genius

about 1 month ago

Genius follows its own law of gravity. It migrates in ever greater numbers to where it thrives. Hence places like Silicon Valley – and attempts to replicate it elsewhere, like London's Silicon Roundabout. The phenomenon is older than the microchip, of course, as proven by these maps. Focusing on ...

Strange Maps

Pinpointing the Ponderosa

about 1 month ago

This is probably the most recognizable map of the latter part of the 20th century. It's certainly the only one guaranteed to provoke outbursts of humming in viewers of a certain age. But where is the Ponderosa exactly?  Screen grab from Bonanza's opening credits (via YouTube)   From ...

Strange Maps

Countries that Look Like Other Countries

about 1 month ago

History and geography conspire to produce political boundaries at random. Each international border is the answer to a question that is contingent to a certain place and time, and irrelevant anywhere (and anywhen) else. Yet out of the chaos of chance comes the order of reality. For even though ...

Strange Maps

Scrotum and Totem: Phallic Cartography 101

2 months ago

Warning. Some words and images in this post may unsettle readers of a tender age or disposition. If that's you, look away. This blog does not set out to cause offense. But we go where strange maps lead us. Even if that is the field of phallic cartography, booby-trapped with innuendo. If you must ...

Strange Maps

672 - Licence to Map: the Other James Bond

3 months ago

Bond. James Bond. Not just a fictional character. Also a world-renowned ornithologist. With an unexpected cartographic legacy. The confusion between the two, and the overshadowing of the real person by the fictional character, begins in 1952, when Ian Fleming writes the first of his spy novels – to ...