Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Look North

Going through my recently acquired road maps, I was intrigued by the many different north arrows. Many are gas stations maps-the work contracted out to map publishing companies such as Rand McNally and H.M. Gousha. Oil companies put their names on the map and often their logo on the north arrow.
Here's an example from the Gulf "Richmond Tourgide" - their cutesy misspelling, not mine. Rand McNally produced this map. Here are some more:

Flying A Service Metro D.C. Street Map- Gousha.

Cities Service - I don't know who they were and it was hard to get a clear picture of their logo. This is from their Maine map (Bangor inset). You can see the H. M. G. Co. (Gousha) text.

Before Arco, there was Atlantic - From a Tampa-St Petersburg map-Rand McNally

American - Greater Miami Street Map and Mobil Travel Map of the San Fernando Valley, California - Rand McNally

Two Gousha's - one from the Hertz/American Express Chicago map and one from their own branded New Orleans city map.

AAA's maps used this globe north arrow. They liked to put them in the water.

Here is one from Rand McNally's Los Angeles map. It appears on the LAX airport inset. This map looks very different stylistically from the rest of the map and the Thomas Brothers north arrow explains why.

The other sections of the map all have this dull, understated e.e. cummings- style "n"

Some state tourist agencies.
Maryland - I don't love Maryland's schizophrenic flag, but I like how they incorporated it into their north arrow.

Virginia - very detailed.

Montana-now that's a quality north arrow!

Best of all - South Dakota with its compass ring showing where the needle would point at the center of the state. Two rings, one for true distance and one for magnetic variation, plus the state seal!
 Here are some more

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

More Map Acquisitions

Map Acquistions - Part Two

Central Leningrad from a city guide by Intourist,  travel service of the U.S.S.R, circa 1976.
Another view of Leningrad, Falk plans, Hamburg, Germany, 1976.
A very schematic map of Moscow from Intourist.
Tourist map of Milan - the eye watering color scheme and overly fussy level of detail make it a treat to try and read.
Bus guide-Barnet, North London
A "Parking Disc" for North Yorkshire - set the time of arrival and display on your windscreen. Fail to display the disc and you have "committed an offence."
Hughes Airwest map of Guadalajara,
and Puerto Vallarta
Here's something I haven't come across before - an uncredited map. There is no publishing info but here's the cover.
There are some nice details on it,
 with this odd inset - I guess showing the extent of streets in 1947. Except where they masked them under "San Francisco"
Finally, a personal favorite since I vacation here, "Damariscotta Boxes the Compass" a map with a ridiculously prominent compass.

The houses and churches are drawn so large you can't tell where they're located. This is from the Damariscotta Information Bureau - we still use their maps but they are much more legible these days.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Map Acquisition Syndrome

Map Acquisition Syndrome - is there a cure? I have been given so many maps by people clearing out their apartments that it has overwhelmed my filing system. Many have been sitting in shopping bags for a year now while I figure out what to do with them. Here are some paper maps people have foisted on me knowing I can't say no. This is therapy-before I file them away I need to show off my bounty.

Insight FlexiMap of Budapest - so shiny it's hard to get a good picture.
For contrast here's the Budapest tourist agency map  
Details from the shiny flip side of the Insight map - the road to Lake Balaton and the Metro
Rand McNally map of Italy-an undated map from a Fodor's travel guide. The credits mention a Stuttgart office that no longer seems to exist. 
Here is a newer Fodor's map of Naples. This one produced by the British map company Lovell Johns.
Old Quebec - a nice pictorial map  
"Marco Polo" map of Russia. These maps come with stickers so you can mark places of personal interest. 
Same company-Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Note the delicate task of naming Saigon. 
Official City of Rome tourist map with pictorial details.
Monte Carlo tourist agency map
Bilbao Turismo
Bilbao Transportes 
AAA map of Tucson
Sorry for the poor quality of some of these pictures. I don't have a professional map photography setup. There are many more - stay tuned for another installment.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Four North Poles

There are many interesting facts to unpack from this excellent map by Chris Brackley, cartographer for Canadian Geographic
The map was featured in the March/April 2017 issue and on their best maps of 2017 page. It accompanied an essay detailing the history of claims in the Arctic region. The exclusive economic zones (200 nautical miles offshore) are shown for Canada, the United States, Russia, Norway, Iceland and Denmark. It also shows the huge amount of sea ice lost since 1974.

Four north poles are shown. There is the geographic pole (the center of rotation and northernmost point where longitude lines converge) and the magnetic north pole, where magnetic needles become vertical. There is also a Geomagnetic North Pole. This is where magnetic north would be, if the earth's magnetic field was a straight line from the core to the surface of the planet. Instead magnetic poles are driven by convection currents within the earth's molten iron core. Magnetic poles wander more than geomagnetic poles. The movements of both poles since 1900 are shown on the map above. The best explanation I have found for the difference between Magnetic North and Geomagnetic North is on this page from StackExchange, and includes this cool yarnball of a diagram.
The blue lines point towards the earth's core, while yellow lines point away. 

The fourth pole is the pole of inaccessibility. This the most difficult to reach point. In this region it refers to the spot in the Arctic Ocean furthest from land.
Remember back in the early 1990's when you could reach Magnetic North by land? Those were good times!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Extermination of the American Bison

Artist David Buckley Borden created this wonderful, sad map showing the demise of the bison.

Borden adds many clever touches to his maps including the downward facing buffalo head.
The map is based on conservationist William Hornaday's 1889 map that showed the declining range of the bison throughout North America. Hornaday is credited with preserving the bison from extinction. The present day (2003) tiny distribution of bison herds is shown in the tiny upside down* map in the bottom right corner.

Hornaday's original map is also quite striking.
 Here is a detail-you can click on the map above for a full, zoomable version.
*The upside down map is a theme of Borden's. Here is a detail of his Ecological Distress Hydroscape Map. I like the clever use of arrows to indicate distress points-including the City of Ecological Sin.
In Borden's words:
No disrespect should be shown to the map of the United States of America; the map should never be displayed with the Great Lakes down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life, property or landscape.

More of his maps can be seen on this page.