VIDEO: Vintage Cartography Film Caught Mapping

Before Google Maps and GPS travelers and motorists had to rely on maps printed on an increasingly rare substance known as paper. If you ever wondered how those maps were kept updated and current, you might enjoy this 1940 short film made by Chrysler on how road maps are drawn, field-checked, and printed “without fuss or feathers.” From the route scouts who drive each road (one field man drives, while the other makes notes and sketches with an impressively steady hand) and note detours, to the surveyors who keep track of topological changes, to the technicians who operate a ginormous camera, a lot of work goes into cartography before computers. Swell teamwork, boys!

Enjoy a vintage look at the “modern” (by pre-internet standards) world of map-making in this video.

Police Urge Hikers To Learn Orienteering Instead Of Relying On Smartphones

orienteeringPolice in northern Scotland have issued a call for hikers to learn orienteering rather than relying on their smartphones for navigation, the BBC reports.

Grampian Police have had to lead four separate groups to safety in the past week. The latest rescue included the use of mountain rescue teams and a Royal Navy helicopter to retrieve 14 hikers. The hikers were in the Cairngorms, a rugged mountain range with some of the UK’s tallest peaks.

Police said that the growing use of smartphone apps for navigation can lead to trouble. People are relying too much on technology without actually understanding the world around them. Police then have to rescue them at taxpayer expense.

Hiking with an app sounds to me like the antithesis of hiking. Basic orienteering with a map and compass is not difficult to learn. I’ve been teaching my 6-year-old and his brain hasn’t melted. Not only do a map and compass not have to rely on getting a signal, but they help you understand the land better and give you a feel for your natural surroundings.

So please folks, if you’re going out into nature, actually interact with it!

Earliest Map Naming America Discovered

map A copy of the earliest map that names America has been discovered.

The map was created by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller in 1507 based on explorers’ accounts. Only four copies are known to exist, but a fifth has just been discovered inside a 19th century book at the Ludwig Maximilian University library in Munich.

This map is slightly different than the others and appears to be a second edition.

Waldseemüller named the vaguely drawn land after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. His map is important because he shows America as being separate from Asia. Until this time the common assumption was that it was part of Asia.

The map is actually a globe gore, designed to be cut out and pasted onto a globe. It never was, and how it ended up in a book published three centuries later is a mystery.

To celebrate the Fourth of July, the library has put the map online.

Image courtesy Badische Landesbibliothek.

Using Google Maps To Launch A Zombie Invasion

Zombie, Zombies
It was only a matter of time.

The zombie craze has now infected Google Maps. A horde of living dead is coming to your street. A new app called Home Sweet Zombie from Confused.com allows you to type in the surname and address of someone you hate, then sit back and watch as zombies descend on their house. It’s a great way to get back at your former boss or the significant other who dumped you. If you’re filled with self-loathing you can even send them to your own house.

This app was designed by Jamie Gibbs, who writes about all things geeky on his blog. There, he reveals that he has more zombie stuff in the pipeline.

I tried it out on a few addresses in different countries and most worked. The only time the program came up blank was when I typed in Obama and the White House, proving once again the liberal bias among zombies. This also raises the question of whether they’re really as dead as they claim. I mean, has anyone actually seen their death certificates?

[Photo courtesy Confused.com]

Heat-Map Shows Travelers Most And Least Frequented Destinations

mapHave you ever wondered what countries are the most and least frequented by travelers? Estonian tech firm Bluemoon has taken data from the photo sharing service Panoramio and created a heat-map based on photos. The map details which countries are the most visited (in yellow), which have a medium amount of visitors (in red) and which are explored the least (in blue). A grey area signifies that no photos have been taken there using Panoramio.

As you can see from the map, Europe is a major tourist destination, as is much of the east and west coasts of the United States and Japan. Certain regions that seem to receive few visitors include Mongolia, India and Australia. Moreover, many areas in Canada and Africa remain unexplored.

They’ve also created a map of the “world’s most interesting remote places.” It only looks at destinations away from cities with remote tourist attractions. Some examples from the data show the Greek Islands are touristy (red), the Amazon Basin has almost no tourism (green) and Ladakh falls in the middle (yellow).

For a bigger view of the map, click here.