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The National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) met in Washington, DC on June 9-10, 2015.  The full report of the meeting including the powerpoints from the subcommittees and lightning sessions are available on the NGAC Website.  The NGAC is a Federal Advisory Committee that reports to the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC).  Our role is to provide advice and recommendations related to the national geospatial program and the development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.

Sometimes the very data we map can get in the way of our understanding the phenomena we are visualizing.

In the case of bird sightings for the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, the typical approach to adding points over a map might have shown us where in time and space the birds were while on their annual migration, but the result would have also obscured the terrain over which they fly.

Using a creative visualization method of subtractive rather than additive symbology in mapping observations, John Nelson of IDV Solutions found a great way to reveal rather than hide the landscape these birds travel through. Instead of adding points for observations over a detailed map background, John used a masking technique to reveal the underlying map showing us the world the birds see as they migrate while still revealing the overall patterns in the data.

Maps of war take many forms from those showing battlefronts to the layout of trenches, from details of terrain to focusing on the forts that protect a harbor.  One category of war map is designed to inform the people at home or soldiers as to what is or has happened during a campaign.  This week we feature three maps from the Branner Library collection that focus on World War II and the battles in the Pacific.  This exhibit is part of the Branner 100th Anniversary celebration and will be on display May 28 - June 4, 2015 at the Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections.

Between 1942 and 1946 the U.S. Army Information Branch issued weekly broadsheets called Newsmap that were targeted specifically for American military personnel to keep up on the progress of the war.  The broadsheets are large, measuring 3 feet by 4 feet and are printed on both sides.  They include maps, photographs, news, and the progress on each front.  224 Newsmaps were printed and Branner Library holds about 50 of them.  You may read more about these maps in a blog post written by Mike DiCianna, a student at Oregon State University.  The University of North Texas has scanned 212 of the maps and you may view them here.  The map on display is from October 13, 1943 and includes a map of Europe for context and the world colored according to military alliances.  At the bottom left three pictures show a time lapse of the bombing of a few flats in a river. 

 

A Cropped Part of Rebecca Solnit's Monarchs and Queens Map 2010

This exhibit will be on display May 22-28, 2015 at the Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections.

Rebecca Solnit, a former visiting fellow at the Bill Lane Center for the American West and Stanford University Libraries where she focused on Glen McLaughin’s collection of Maps of California as an Island, is a writer, historian and activist based in the Bay Area. She has authored fifteen books, including Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (2010).

Before the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, the map collection at Branner Library consisted mostly of geologic and topographic maps.  Stanford's "Central Map Collection," which had resided in the badly-damaged west wing of Green Library, was subsequently transferred to Branner.

Among the many thematic maps acquired after that time were a number of fanciful "pictorial maps," some of the most interesting being from the 1930's.

For example, there is a 1937 Dole Pineapple map of the Hawaiian Islands, with pictures of boats, fish, cattle, surfers, wildlife, palm trees and airplanes.  The top margin displays distinctive Hawaiian flowers, and the bottom margin shows fish.  The Hawaiian Pineapple Co., Ltd., prepared and distributed this map, presumably to attract visitors.

The Dole Map of the Hawaiian Islands, U.S.A.  Found at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/8514913

In response to Friday’s powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal, Stanford volunteer “crisis mappers” are working with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap to assist in disaster relief by mapping Nepal’s road networks, buildings, and residential areas.

Anyone with a laptop and spare time can help responders on the ground. The Stanford Geospatial Center housed in the Branner Earth Sciences Library will be hosting ongoing Introductory Relief Mapping sessions all week to help train people to use OpenStreetMap, an open source and open data sharing tool adding information to relief effort maps. Drop-in volunteers are encouraged to join all day from 9am-9pm, Monday-Friday.

The first Introductory Relief Mapping session will be held Monday, April 17 from 6-7pm at the Branner Earth Sciences Library Teaching Corner, on the 2nd floor of the Mitchell Earth Science Building.

Mappa [sic] geologico do Brazil, Geological Society of America, 1991 Branner, John Casper, Contributor.

The Branner Earth Sciences Library is named after John Casper Branner (1850-1922). Branner was, among many things, a geologist, an academic and a founding member of the faculty at Stanford and went on to become Stanford’s second president. He was also president of the Geological Society of America and served as the president of the Seismological Society of America.

 

Mappa [sic] geologico do Brazil, Geological Society of America, 1919. Branner, John Casper, Contributor.

Salmon data in EarthWorks

Stanford University Libraries is happy to introduce EarthWorks, our new geospatial data discovery application. EarthWorks is a discovery tool for geospatial (a.k.a. GIS) data. It allows users to search and browse the GIS collections owned by Stanford University Libraries, as well as data collections from many other institutions. Data can be searched spatially, by manipulating a map; by keyword search; by selecting search limiting facets (e.g., limit to a given format type); or by combining these options.

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