541 - Ten Map Shorts
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.
Finding maps that are sufficiently strange and beautiful is only half the joy of making this blog; the other is writing up the story to go along with them. But sometimes, fascinating maps are resistant to exegesis - maybe because all they need to explain is right there, in the image itself. Or maybe I've just stared myself blind on them. Over the years, many have accumulated. Here are ten of 'em.
Welcome to USB Country
These peculiar landscape elements have since disappeared from the satellite view.
The Longest Way 'Round
I'd watch out, Miss. He's got mischief in his eyes.
NYC = 5 States
The population of New York City equals that of five entire states.
The Navy Alphabet
From an illustrated book by L. Frank Baum, of Wizard of Oz fame.
A postage map of India.
Zones of indulgence
So northern Europe drinks too much, and southern Europe eats too much?
Attendance at Elvis Concerts, per State
States sized to correspond to their political weight in Congress (in 1911).
Who's in standing in the corner now?
Your Brain on Maps
This is what your brain looks like after looking at too much cartography.
Many thanks to all those who sent in these maps over the past few years.
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