This Month in Globes

A roundup of globe-related items. Obviously, I've got a thing for maps, as does my buddy Bruce in a different kind of way; and a globe is a very special kind of map indeed.

I. GPS Visualizer

Back in June, I posted about the Great Circle Mapper, a cool tool for drawing the true direct paths across the globe on flat maps, and I used it to show the goshawful business trip I was heading off on. Well, I think I went on an even more extreme trip last month, and I found an even cooler tool to visualize it: The GPS Visualizer. This site lets you plot all sorts of geographic data on all kinds of maps, but for me, the killer app was the ability to create a KML file that you can use with Google Earth. How cool is that?

Don't have Google Earth yet? Get it now. Don't wait. It's free. It's here. Don't finish reading this blog until you get it. Here's a view of my around-the-world slog in pretty colors. It looks pretty serene from way up above the pole, but it was 22,613 miles and 51 hours 10 minutes in flight over 16 days. Ugh.

II. The Mystery of Hitler's Globe

There was an interesting bit in the NYT this week that begins dramatically enough:

BERLIN, Sept. 16 — Hitler’s globe is missing. Wolfram Pobanz, a 68-year-old retired cartographer, is positive that it’s not the one in the Deutsches Historisches Museum, with the Russian bullet hole through Germany, and he can prove it.

It's the story of a different kind of Nazi hunter and his quest for a particular globe. Good commentary on the power of media and of cartography. And Charlie Chaplin, too. But the mention of a Russian bullet hole through Germany (can you see it in the photo behind Pobanz? I'm not sure.) sent a momentary chill up my spine and then made me think of

III. Ana Ng

The first four lines of the first and possibly best song on Lincoln, They Might Be Giants second and possibly best album:

Make a hole with a gun perpendicular
To the name of this town in a desktop globe
Exit wound in a foreign nation
Showing the home of the one this was written for

In the commentary on this song, one reader claims to have created a pair of superimposed maps showing what is exactly opposite what, but the link goes somewhere else. Please let me know if you have such a map, lest I find myself compelled to make one myself.

IV. I can has kartografy?

I'm not going to even try to explain the Lolcat meme, but I will say that I think LOLMaps is an incredible body of work on its own. It's visually arresting and politically aggressive, taking on urban sprawl, borders, neighborhoods and the Bush administration with kaleidoscopic maps, humor, rage and bad spelling.

In the words of creator Nikolas Schiller,

LOLMaps combines various historic maps & my geospatial art with popular image macro phonetics popularized by LOLcats, LOLgeeks, LOLgays, LOLpresident, LOLlibrarians etc. It also combines some of the “All of your base…” text as well as some Latin words used in old maps. As this project continues I expect the maps to get more creative and go beyond just bad grammar and combine some new elements (probably a Google Map with all the maps georeferenced) and produce a few more maps of this ilk. ... The background for each page still pulls a random “zoom” from around America, which creates an interesting cartographic juxtaposition by mixing actually places with humor and in some cases political statements.

There are currently 51 LOLmaps with 143 different backgrounds which gives LOLmaps 7,293 different viewing combinations.

Some of my favorites are #3, #16, #18 (above) and #48.


1 Response

  1. LKB
    Thanks for the Bruce mention! Welcome back. He loved the great circle mapper.

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