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Geographic coordinate systems (lat/long) are based on a spheroidal (either truly spherical or ellipsoidal) surface that approximates the surface of the earth. A datum typically defines the surface (ex radius for a sphere, major axis and minor axis or inverse flattening for an ellipsoid) and the position of the surface relative to the center of the earth. ...


You will obviously get better answers from textbooks, but here is an simple explanation: Map Projection: It is a method for representing a spherical or curved surface on a flat plane. Datum: It is the reference or origin based on which measurements are made.


RADICAL CARTOGRAPHY showcases couple of really nice examples. My two favourites: Mississippi meanders Statistical Atlas of 1870 US Census


Eduard Imhof's work, especially his hand-drawn hillshading maps:


As the question does not specify that a map has to be a traditional static map, I would like to propose the Mapnificent London travel times map. As per usualy, Google are really pushing what you can do with Online Mapping APIs. In terms of map design, the v3 API now gives you greater control over tweaking the underlying base map. The map is also very ...


A couple examples of beautiful flow maps An article in the open journal PLoS, Redrawing the Map of Great Britain from a Network of Human Interactions by: Carlo Ratti, Stanislav Sobolevsky, Francesco Calabrese, Clio Andris, Jonathan Reades, Mauro Martino, Rob Claxton, Steven H. Strogatz PLoS ONE, Vol. 5, No. 12. (8 December 2010) Facebook worldwide ...


After struggling with this question ten years ago, and finding many confusing things written about the topic, I published a brief article in Directions Magazine that presented an answer as simply, plainly, and accurately as I could make it. The following is excerpted from that article. Reprojecting geographic features Two things must happen when you draw a ...


Originally created and posted by Tear on the Cartographer's Guild Forum. A hand created map of George R. R. Martin's Westeros from The Song of Ice and Fire series:


As scw points out, you want an implementation of α-shapes. Alpha shapes can be considered a generalisation of the convex hull. They were first described in 1981 in: Edelsbrunner, H.; Kirkpatrick, D.; Seidel, R.; , "On the shape of a set of points in the plane," Information Theory, IEEE Transactions on , vol.29, no.4, pp. 551- 559, Jul 1983 ...


This is the one that started it all for me. At age ~10 I first read R.L. Stevenson's Treasure Island. The map somehow encapsulates the mystery, adventure, search and discovery of a great story. Not only that, but Pirates! Har.


U.S. National Park Service Maps (from Getting Real: Reflecting on the New Look of National Park Service Maps):



Here is a good one: The Atlas of Canada Map of the North Circumpolar Region http://atlas.nrcan.gc.ca/site/english/dataservices/wall_maps/MCR1-2.jpg/image_view Also interesting is the Cartographica journal article describing the work involved in putting this map together: http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/d80604507k247v46/


There are a lot of great bad examples at http://cartastrophe.wordpress.com/. For example this map of Europe (part of a world map that uses colors excessively and without obvious purpose): Besides the coloring, the labeling on this map is a mess.


Here is what you are looking for. You can download and test the program: (in java, under GPL license) The paper presenting the algorithm is there: Duckham, M., Kulik, L., Worboys, M.F., Galton, A. (2008) Efficient generation of simple polygons for characterizing the shape of a set of points in the plane. Pattern Recognition v41, 3224-3236


I like interactive maps from Stamen a lot. Especially, for their their focus on handling temporal interaction. Examples: SF crimespotting Hurricane Tracker (Update) Surging seas A non temporal example: Watermark, Terrain and Toner tiles


wwnick's answer is correct, but it is a bit misleading in the sense that it emphasizes ellipsoid parameters and IMO understates the importance of 'the position of the surface relative to the center of the earth' - the NAD 1927 example needs to mention that the geodetic "center" of NAD27 is a base station at Meades Ranch in Kansas. One could have (and often ...


My favourite maps are John Ogilby strip maps of routes within Britain. The originals are from 1675, though there was also an official reprint around 1700 I think. I have this one (the road from Hereford to Leicester) hanging in my office. I'd love to get a full atlas, but the cost would be rather more than I can afford! Truly beautiful, not to mention ...


Can't believe no-one has mentioned XKCD's Map of the Internet: and this one has some mind-blowing aspects:


Overlaying a huge amount of data without taking care of the readability makes such pixel blots: (some people pretend these "mashups" are the Cartography 2.0. Maybe not).


This is pretty much an interactive map This is a truly wonderful thread for a maplover like me! I found this (with a little help from my friends) Rock and roll. Metal Map


From 2011 SND awards: Best printed map -NG ‘Gulf of Mexico’ map (PDF available here): Miguel Urabayen Award - NG ‘World of Rivers' map: (Interactive version here) (Via FlowingData blog)


This seems to be a specific application of alpha shapes, which are from my reading a more general form of this problem. R has the alphahull module, which has excellent documentation on computing alpha shapes. Also check this detailed background on alpha shapes. If you only want to compute convex/concave hulls, check out lasboundary, part of lastools, it ...


From the hip my answer would be Stephen Walter's 'The island': witty, irreverent, slightly subversive he has hand drawn a map of London representing it as an island (poking fun at Londoners' London centric view of the world). http://www.bl.uk/magnificentmaps/map4.html I think its beautiful as its highly original, detailed, fascinating and I interpret it ...


I love Dymaxion maps. In this example from Wikipedia, it used to map human migrations: Reminds me again of how tiny Europe is.


Shanghai Interactive Map: Actually there are many other cities there drawn in such style. Use google translate ;) Very interesting renderer, quite good for interactive public maps I think.


Another example of cartographic bad design from a federal French agency (detail): http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/DGALN_Repartition_des_reserves_mondiales_de_MP.pdf


Many beauties on BIG map blog. For instance, Birdseye map of Coronado, San Diego by a property developer, 1880s: (via O'Reilly radar)


Beat the NATO 'Map-Mania' (this is aimed for Children and Adults) Takes a long to load up (uncompressed/un-optimized flash content) Very few features (blue graduated background and some country/coastline) that's it! Very poor world projection - find Hawaii... too much to add to the list. double dare you to try it: http://www.nato.int/multi/mapgame/


I found a couple of examples of very poor choropleth maps posted on wikipedia depicting income inequality and poverty by nation. Although both metrics depict a continuous phenomenon, they chose seemingly random colors to depict different ranges along the continuum (not even diverging colors, random bright colors). I've reduced the size in the files I've ...

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