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Introducing The Next Generation Of Portable Navigation Systems

Today's digital maps, both on the web, on our mobile phones and in our cars are almost ubiquitous. But they're not without their problems. They need recharging, updating and most need some form of network connectivity and that's even before you look at the potential privacy aspects of who's watching your position. But now there's the next generation of portable navigation system.

This unprecedented technological revolution works without cables, without electronics, without a network connection and is both compact and portable. Integrated into a flexible cellulose based pad, it expands from the size of your pocket to as much as 48" via the patented FUF technology (folding and unfolding).

Panning, zooming and rotation can be performed without image degradation; it's fast, working smoothly within picoseconds. It also respects a user's privacy, it's impossible to hack and there's no need for any antivirus or firewall.

It's unbreakable, private and portable and goes by the name of MAP. Trust me, you'll all be using one sooner or later.

If Columbus Or The Vikings Didn't Discover America, Maybe The Chinese Did? Or Maybe Not

Old maps can be valuable. Old maps that show key parts of history, such as "I got here first", are valuable. Old maps that seem to show that someone else got there first are extremely valuable and can verge on priceless. The prospect of large amounts of money and potential fame can make faking a map that says "you didn't get there first, someone else did" a very attractive proposition. But if you're going to fake a map, there's right ways to do it and there's wrong ways to do it.

It seems that maps that show that Columbus didn't get to the Americas first hold a particular fascination for map faking. Back in June of this year I wrote about the debunking of the map of Vinland which purported to show that a Norse expedition, led by Leif Ericson, got to Newfoundland in the 11th Century.

Of course the Vikings didn't discover the Americas 300 years before Columbus, it was the Chinese some 70 years before Columbus. At least that's what the somewhat controversial historian Gavin Menzies claims in a book which doesn't pull any punches in its title ... Who Discovered America?.

The Curious Cartographical Case Of The Island Of California

We've become firmly accustomed to the instant gratification of Internet Time, which can be roughly summarised as "I want it now, dammit". Nowhere is this more evident than in maps. If something is wrong on a map, we expect it to be fixed. Now. Ten or so years ago, it would be common to wait somewhere between 12 and 18 months for a map's updates to be collected, validated and published. These days, thanks to our modern digital maps, we get our updates in more or less Internet Time and that means fast. It hasn't always been that way.

Although waiting over a year for a map update seems almost unthinkable now, consider for a moment having to wait almost half a century for a map to be updated. Yet this is what happened in the curious cartographical case of the Island of California.

I should state up front that I've been to California, quite a few times. The weather is fine (apart from San Francisco's fog), it's home to the technical hub of Silicon Valley and the local food and wine are rather good. It is most definitely not an island and what's more, there's a distinct lack of tribes of beautiful Amazonian warriors wielding gold tools and weaponry. Yet in 1510, Spanish author Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo published a novel entitled Las Sergas de Esplandián, or The Adventures Of Esplandián, which mentions the Island of California, populated by the aforementioned female warriors. The name and concept of an island stuck and early Spanish explorers of what we now call Baja California were convinced the new territory they had found was part of the Island of California.

In retrospect, early maps of the New World actually got the geography of California right. Both Mercator, he of web map projection controversy, in 1538 and Ortelius, in 1570, made maps that correctly showed California as a peninsula.

Men Pointing At Maps? Hell, Yeah. But Where Are The Women?

Despite having a lot of NSFW content, estimated at between 2% to 4% by the site's founder, Tumblr is also the microblogging site that some maps and cartography aficionados call home. The scope and range of these is simply staggering. But now there's a new, albeit tenuously, related maps Tumblr in town.

For general maps enthusiasm, there's Fuck Yes Maps!, run by a boy and two girls who blog about maps because they're awesome. No disagreement from me on that point.

Slightly more cartographically centred but similarly named is Fuck Yeah Cartography! that sets out to explore interesting representations of space. Apparently. There's also Fuck Yeah Maps, not to be confused with the Yes variant mentioned earlier.

If maps and globals are more your thing, the aptly named Maps and Globes might appeal, which is curated by Emily who's addicted to planar surfaces.

Tumblr also seems to be populated by blogs about people ... doing ... stuff. Think Stormtroopers Doing Things if you will. So it's probably a logical extension to this that there's now Men Pointing At Maps. No, really.


All of which is good for showing just how many carto-nerds and map-geeks there are out there on today's Interwebs. But it does beg a question. Where are the women pointing at maps? Surely maps and pointing aren't a purely patriachal occupation. Someone should start a rival about women pointing at maps. Someone probably will ...

The Tube Map To End All Tube Maps That's Made Of Tube Maps

Despite Transport for London owning the copyright (and enforcing it) on Harry Beck's iconic map of the London Underground network, people just won't stop creating variants of the map. I may have written about these once, twice, three or even more times. But now, there's a reworking of the Tube map to possibly end all Tube maps reworks.

At first sight, surely it's yet another Tube map rework? Quirky and amusing line names in the right colours? Check. Station names that aren't the current station names? Check. Faithfully reproducing the line layout? Check.

But then you dig deeper and discover that this isn't just another Tube map rework, it's a Tube map of Tube map reworks. Each station is assigned one of the other Tube map reworks that today's Interwebs seem to be full of. Each line tries to categorise the Tube map reworks into some, albeit subjective, categorisation.

From Wasserklo to Grashügel by way of Königskreuz St. Pankraz; The London U-Bahn Map

Yesterday I took the S-Bahn from my local train station in the suburbs of London. At the terminus at Wasserklo I took the Nördlich U-Bahn Linie to Königskreuz St. Pankraz, changing onto the Städtich Linie and finally alighted at Grashügel. No. Wait. That's not right.

What I actually did was take the South West Trains suburban line into London Waterloo, hopped on the Northern Line to King's Cross St. Pancras and then changed onto the Metropolitan Line and got off at Farringdon. What's going on here?