Tag archive for map

Even if you’re not a cartographer, when you first see a map there’s almost always a gut feel for whether you like a map or whether you don’t. Critiquing a map is a deeply subjective thing. You may not know why you like a map but you can tell whether the map’s cartography works or […]

Imagine for a moment you’re in the city you live in; you know it like the back of your hand and yet you know there’s shops, businesses or services nearby that you haven’t yet come across. Or maybe you’re in an unfamiliar city and you want to explore and stay away from the same old […]

When I first made the Vaguely Rude Places Map in February of 2013 I had no idea what was going to happen. Since then it’s gone viral multiple times, been the subject of three conference talks, talked about on two radio stations, been covered in loads of newspapers and viewed millions of times. I still […]

CartoBot is a small robot who lives in the office in my loft. He accidentally achieved consciousness when his charging cable was accidentally plugged into a Raspberry PI and he started to look for information. His only source was my library of books on maps and so CartoBot became obsessed with them. He now spends […]

In English, null means nothing, nil, empty or void. In computing, null is a special value for nothing, an empty value. In geography, null tends to be what you get when you’ve been unable to geocode a place or an address and haven’t checked the geocoder’s response. What you end up with is a pair of coordinates of 0 degrees longitude and 0 degrees latitude, a point somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, south of Ghana and west of Gabon. It’s here that you’ll also find Null Island, if you look hard enough.

If you’re trying to get out and about in London today you’ve probably noticed that the Tube is on strike. Again. You could read the list of closed stations that are on Transport for London’s website and try and work out quite how, if at all, you’re going to get to where you want to be. Or you could look at a map.

Running between Edgware, Mill Hill East and High Barnet to the North of London to Morden to the South, the London Underground’s Northern Line stretches for 36 miles and takes in 50 stations. The line, marked in black on the Tube map, is a familiar sight to London commuters. But is the map of the line accurate? Does it reflect reality?

My morning’s reading today has been dominated by a map image that the UK’s Environment Agency released on December 6th that, to quote the Tweet, shows “the extent of potential flooding of London if the Thames Barrier wasn’t in place“. If you know London at all, it’s certainly an arresting image but like so many times when I encounter a map, I want to interact with it, move it, see whether where I live in London would have been impacted. So I started investigating.

Oh look. It’s another reworking of Harry Beck’s London Underground map. Ken Field probably won’t like it. This one is Doctor Who related. All the usual suspects are present. Each line representing one of the Doctors? Yes. Stations representing monsters and adversaries? Yes. Vague notions of interchanges between the lines? Oh yes.

In his book A Zebra Is The Piano Of The Animal Kingdom, Jarod Kintz wrote “when you’re a cartographer, having to make maps sort of comes with the territory”. He’s right. When your business is making maps you should be able to do just that. But what if you’re not a cartographer? What if you had to draw a map of the country you live in? From memory? What would that map look like?