Frank Jacobs is Big Think's "Strange Maps" columnist.
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
Starting just about now, leaves start changing color from north to south, high to low, light to dark.
In Louisiana, high school starts at 7:30 am. Research shows that is at least an hour too early.
One of the best-known allegorical depictions of love has a rather pessimistic male twin.
Even 1500 years after the fall of Rome, its western border can still be seen on German street maps.
Americans don't like to ride the bus. There are ways to fix that.
By the end of this decade, Seabed 2030 wants to produce accurate maps for the remaining 80 percent of the ocean floor.
In some countries, people want more freedom of speech. In others, they feel that there is too much.
UAE is the world's most expensive country to start a business, but it's free in Rwanda.
The Kazungula Bridge connects Zambia and Botswana, barely missing Namibia and Zimbabwe.
A cartogram makes it easy to compare regional and national GDPs at a glance.
Thomas Baldwin's Airopaidia (1786) includes the earliest sketches of the earth from a balloon.
ExtendNY stretches the Big Apple's gridiron all across the globe – with some bizarre effects
A "seafood mafia" is plying the waters between India and Sri Lanka to satisfy China's appetite for an increasingly rare delicacy.
A 19th-century surveying mistake kept lumberjacks away from what is now Minnesota's largest patch of old-growth trees.
Ancient corridors below the French capital have served as its ossuary, playground, brewery, and perhaps soon, air conditioning.