November 19, 2009

eduard imhof


[Swiss cartographer Eduard Imhof's "Mount Everest or Chomolongma", from the Schweizerischer Mittelschulatlas, editions 1962-1976; see also the hand-drawn hillshade which underlies the final atlas version; via but does it float]

November 18, 2009

the nine nations of china

A fascinating interactive map by Patrick Chovanec at the Atlantic Monthly splits China into nine distinct sub-regions; while there are, as Chovanec explains on his blog, any number of other ways to split China, none of those have really penetrated deeply into Western consciousness, in my experience (I've always been vaguely aware that China was a really, really large nation with geographically and culturally distinct sub-regions, but I've never had any kind of understanding of what those sub-regions might be).

[via James Fallows]

October 29, 2009

keyes-cahill octahedral projection


[from Gene Keyes's 1975 adaptation of B.J.S. Cahill's 1909 Butterfly Map, an octahedral projection which predates the similar but considerably more famous Fuller projection by thirty-seven years]

November 25, 2008

an atlas of my childhood, limited to south carolina

825 lakeside circle

Please note abandoned playground located in woods across from house.


Where the people went on saturday night. When the wal-mart came, it put the Roses out of business. When I was in Delaware a few months ago, I drove past a strip of stripmalls that more or less duplicated the pre-wal-mart retail ecology[1] of lancaster, right down to a still-open Roses'. The emptiness of the parking lot in the satellite photo suggests to me that the old wal-mart building was abandoned when the super wal-mart opened (on the other side of Bypass 9) and has yet to find a tenant.


Note gas station at corner, which I imagined to be a den of iniquity because Justin Lutz's father owned it and he made his money by placing video poker machines in his gas stations. The trailers are gone from the church; I am not sure what this means.

the race track, which was next to the county dump.

You could hear this at night in the summer while lying in bed. The sounds, smells, and light textures (not images, but conditions of light) -- the cacophany of cicadas on a hot summer night, the smell of cut grass (I was well-acquainted with our lawnmower and, like most people in Lancaster, we had a sizeable lawn), the whoosh of an attic fan and a certain temperature of air being pulled through the house -- are at least as vital to 'childhood' as particular places or events. Any of these (and a number of other sensations) can easily trigger a nostalgia for a place that I have only returned to once and may never return to again.

bowater, the paper plant

Smelled (and presumably still smells) awful.

andrew jackson state park

I have been informed that I may have knocked a few other, smaller kids over and/or pushed them out of the way in the hunt for easter eggs. I do not remember this.


This is where I rode in a plane for the first time. It is also where my friend Mark (who is still a treasured friend, even if we do not see each other nearly so often anymore) lived. jaars stands for "jungle aviation and radio service".

lancaster high school

We left Lancaster in my sophmore year of high school, but not before I had the opportunity to learn what sort of educational opportunities a state whose public educational system is perenially ranked in the bottom five in the nation offered.

lancaster county library

The checkout limit is ten items per person. I remember this number because I strained against this artificial limit for many years; if I read all ten books before our next weekly trip, I was in a very unfortunate situation.

the farmer's market

One of the advantages of a small town is a good farmer's market, because the farms are close.

landsford canal state park

This image makes the Catawba seem much more attractive than it actually is.

grace finishing plant

One of the Springs (a textile manufacturer) plants. It seems that all of them (in Lancaster) have closed now, with the Grace Finishing Plant being the last to go. Pretty much everyone's diddy worked for Springs, Duracell, or Bowater. Maybe not so much now.

[1] While on one of our field trips for Field Ecology, a friend and I realized that strip malls might be described in a manner similar to plant communities: that is, there are various sets of stores that typically occur in combination with one another (in ecology, these sets are referred to as 'associations'), and they are replaced by other stores in a manner similar to ecological succession. So a Wal-Mart association might be succeeded by a Best Buy-Barnes and Noble association if the surrounding area's income level rises, or perhaps a Family Dollar-Food Lion association if the area stagnates.