If you want to claim a territory, it’s good to have a map to show what’s yours. Defining Lines: Cartography in the Age of Empire at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University examines how maps were a form of political control and public perception by Western colonial powers from the 16th and 20th centuries.
No maps remain from the Ancient Greeks and Romans, yet we know that they looked to the stars and to the widening world around them and responded with their own influential cartography.
People in New York City seem to have a particular fixation with mapping the past.
The New York Public Library’s 1510 Hunt-Lenox Globe better watch its bronze throne because a new globe portends to be the oldest to show the Americas. And it has the curious advantage of being carved into the round form of an ostrich egg.
John Henry with his hammer, Rip Van Winkle taking a snooze, the Celebrated Jumping Frog rests alongside Coronado scaling a mountain, while Babe the Blue Ox sprints towards the famous Idaho potato. All these figures of American folklore are sprawled across the United States in a 1946 map by artist William Gropper.
When I was a kid, my father kept a dog-eared street map of the Dallas metroplex in his truck’s glove compartment. As a contractor who spent hours driving each day, this atlas was his North Star — a point of reference for navigating the city’s chaotic, concrete sprawl. Today, the cartographic tradition that his homely map belonged to — spanning millenniums from the early Phoenicians to Amerigo Vespucci and Lewis and Clark — is rapidly changing. I now find my way through New York by following a tiny, triangular point on an iPhone screen. In an age of new technology, information, and globalization, maps are no longer mere objects, and they increasingly represent immaterial worlds. This shifting understanding of time and space is reflected in Contemporary Cartographies, a group show at CUNY’s Lehman College Art Gallery in the Bronx.
This is what we look like. You, me, and everybody else in North America: one dot each. 341, 817, 095 dots.
It happened in a surprising instant: North Korea became just a little bit more accessible. Google Maps now features data on the secretive country, with the names of streets and buildings labeled, plus some more sensitive information.
Everyone knows that Hurricane Sandy caused major damage to parts of New York City, but if you want more concrete information about how much flooding really happened — how many feet of water and where — the New York Times has published an amazing map that offers precisely that.
You don’t really want your maps to be “artistic” renderings of reality, we all prefer them accurate, but the recent release of Apple’s iOS6 maps is proving more artistic fiction rather than fact.
LOS ANGELES — Satirical maps have a powerful way of stereotyping the stereotypes people have. Which is why Bulgarian graphic designer Yank Tsvetkov’s map designs have a particular bite. His Mapping Stereotypes series claims to be “The Ultimate Bigot’s Calendar,” with perspectives of Europe and the world as seen by such varied entities as the Vatican and the United States.
LOS ANGELES — It’s always interesting to see different schematics for visually approaching a city. So much of how we experience a new place is defined by the map in our heads, and those maps tend to be limited to subway maps and, increasingly, Google Maps.