With Lonesome George an international icon for conservation has died (although there are still chances that his subspecies of the Pinta Island tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdoni) will continue to exist). The extinction rate of endangered species however remains high and some say may even be the Earth’s sixth mass extinction. Less controversially it can be stated that the current extinction rates are higher than one would expect without humankind’s influence, and that more action to preserve the environment is needed. Continue reading
Changing times was the title of a session at this year’s Annual Symposium of the British Cartographic Society (not to be confused with the Society of Cartographers which will have its annual conference in September).
My contribution as a speaker in this session was titled Changing views of a changing planet. In the presentation I took a look at how changes in data and technology can provide alternative ways of mapping a globalised world, and mapping cities as the hotspots of globalisation. Continue reading
The British monarchy is celebrating the 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II as the official head of state of the United Kingdom. The British Monarchy reaches beyond the boarders of the United Kingdom, making the Queen a constitutional monarch of (currently) 16 countries of the 54 members of the Commonwealth. Celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee will therefore not only be a matter of British subjects, a term which adds to the sometimes confusing geographical realities related to Britain. The epicentre of the events is of course the United Kingdom, especially the capital city London where the celebrations peak this (extended) weekend. The media is well prepared to get the global attention aligned to London ahead of the Olympics. In ongoing difficult economic times these upcoming events are a welcoming distraction for politicians to keep the population quiet.
To put the people back at the centre, here comes a new look at the population of the United Kingdom. The following map builds on the gridded population cartogram that I published on this website before (e.g. at this comparison of a choropleth density map and a cartogram, in this report of the Royal Commission, at this comparison of the different parts of the UK, or in this first London feature on this website). The new gridded population cartogram is a revised version using a much higher resolution population grid like in this population map of Germany. The data comes from the LandScan database which allows to map even more detail in the population distribution, which is why this new map shows a higher variation of population densities within the most densely populated areas. The map is the most detailed gridded population cartogram of the United Kingdom produced so far, which allows us to see even smaller cities in their population context. The map is an equal population projection where each grid cell is resized according to the number of people living there. It shows human shape of the United Kingdom in HD resolution as never before:
This April has been the wettest April on record in the UK, while parts of the country are also in official drought – leading to headlines of the wettest drought on record.
The miserable weather was (is) a good opportunity to finally produce a high-resolution version of the map series that I created during my PhD research and which I presented at last year’s conference of the Society of Cartographers in Plymouth. Continue reading
This image of the day in NASA’s Earth Observatory is an extremely rare display of a cloud-free Irish island. NASA says:
It is easy to see from this true-color image why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle. Intense green vegetation, primarily grassland, covers most of the country except for the exposed rock on mountaintops. Ireland owes its greenness to moderate temperatures and moist air. The Atlantic Ocean, particularly the warm currents in the North Atlantic Drift, gives the country a more temperate climate than most others at the same latitude.
The 5th of March 2012 marks the 500th birthday of Gerardus Mercator, the creator of the world map that profoundly changed our views of the world. He was not the only one who worked on a conformal map projection in the 16th century, which was still an age of exploration and discovery. But he was the first to do the maths right and complete a world map that allowed ships to navigate around the planet by its ability to represent lines of constant course. That makes the Mercator projection a milestone in the history of cartography and remains one of the central map projections up to the present day. Continue reading