Map of undersea cables

August 6, 2011

This 1901 map shows the undersea cables that enabled countries to communicate by telegraph.

1901 World Map of Undersea Cables

1901 World Map of Undersea Cables

The telegraph was a method of long distance communication before the telephone had been established. where people, companies, or governments could send messages by, which would be coded using Morse code (where dots and dashes represent words, for example dot dot dot dash dash dash dot dot dot stood for S.O.S – Save our skins! the international distress signal). A messages was called a ‘cable’ or a ‘wire’, which you sometimes hear in old films.

The telegraph was also used for trade and by newspapers, which is why some newspapers have the word Telegraph in their title. The use of telegraph was replaced by increasing use of telephones and telex machines (which used telephone lines). Telex machines were in turn replaced by the internet!

Art Trials

June 5, 2011

We have recently seen two new maps drawn for “Art Trials”. These are events where artists open the doors to their studios or houses to to show local people their work, so that people can appreciate the art and, maybe buy some of it.

Last weekend we went to a few places on the Wylie Valley Art Trial, and you sometimes see the same people going from one place to another. The first place was a group of different artists, in a lovely old set of buildings, where we also saw some Llamas! The second was a high quality furniture maker, and there were many people packed into the two rooms, but it was a wet saturday afternoon! The interactive map is here.

Wylie Valley Art Trial

Wylie Valley Art Trial

This week, we picked up this map of the Widcombe Art Trial, in Bath, which happens next weekend, June 11th and 12th. It had a lovely hand drawn map of that part of Bath, and it highlights the many green areas close to the centre of the city, which are very popular with walkers (it is called the Skyline Walk) as it has great views of the city. Whenever I go there, I am surprised that there is so much contryside, so close to the city centre!

Widcombe Art Trial

Widcombe Art Trial

This would make a great backdrop for a Mapcaster presentation.

3D Map of London

May 30, 2011

We’ve been informed that the BETT Show is moving in January 2013 to the ExCel exhibition and conference centre.

Olympia has been a great venue for the show: it’s an impressive building; it’s on the Dorset side of London; and it’s close to the middle of London. So we’re in two minds about the new location, but the website http://www.excel-london.co.uk/ has a cool map showimg local landmarks (which change colour when selected from the menu).

3D Map of London

3D Map of London

Olympic Park, London

March 28, 2011

I came across this interactive map of the London 2012 Olympic Park from the Olympic Park Legacy Company (the organisation who are responsible for the area after the games).

Map from the Olympic Park Legacy Company

Map from the Olympic Park Legacy Company

It zooms you into to the part of London, and then you can turn on and off different layers on the map! I found it useful as it showed where exactly the area is in relation to other parts of London.

Much of the site is still being built, as you can see from this image from Andy Wilkes who is working on the site and has a blog at http://insidelondon2012.blogspot.com/

View of the London 2012 Construction Site from Andy Wilkes

View of the London 2012 Construction Site from Andy Wilkes

With less than 500 days to go, I must visit the site to apply for tickets! http://www.tickets.london2012.com/

Maps causing trouble

February 25, 2011

The Google Maps website have drawn the border between the Netherlands and Germany around the port of Emden in a controversial way. It shows the water inside the harbour of Emdon belonging to The Netherlands. It is a caused by problems with the Google maps data! It would seem likely that this will be resolved, as it isn’t a serious matter, although it has been a cause of contention for hundreds of years.

Google map of Emden

Google map of Emden

Last autumn, the Google map were accused of inflaming the border dispute between Nicaragua and Costa Rica by showing a disputed island on the wrong side of the border. And a military officer denied he’d used Google maps to plan one of his missions! It was after the 1970 world cup that a local war started after a match between two Latin American countries!

Central America showing Nicaragua and Costa Rica

Central America showing Nicaragua and Costa Rica

Winter Weather Maps

December 23, 2010

Here in Britain, it has been the coldest and snowiest month before Christmas for many years. It has been beautiful to see, the countryside looks very seasonal, and we have found our toboggan and used it on the local fields – which is nothing compared with the local budding Amy Williams’ who have been tobogganing down Gold Hill.

Cold weather visualisation

Cold weather visualisation

The above map from Go-Geo gives a picture of how cold it has been: blue areas on the map have been colder than the seasonal average, and red areas have been warmer. It also gives an unusual projection of the world gap, being centred, appropriately, over the polar region. More information is available on the Go-Geo website.

Infrared map of Britain

Infrared map of Britain

Travelling around has been a problem, and we have become avid watchers of the BBC weather and consulting the Met Office forecast. The Met Office website contains an infrared map of the British Isles here http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/satpics/latest_uk_ir.html, with images taken every hour. This infrared map shows cooler areas in lighter colours, and needs some technical knowledge to understand it fully, but it has been interesting to use the animation feature to watch snow storms build and move across parts of the country.

I am going to take some more photos and videos of the town in snow, which can be used to compare with the town in normal weather, for a Mapcaster presentation.

Have a happy Christmas!

Rumours of a Hurricane

September 3, 2010

We have been following Andy Murray in the US Open tennis in New York, and the news is full of warnings that Hurricane Earl is headeing towards New York.

Hurricanes are large storms, which rotate anti-clockwise around a central ‘eye’. They usually form off the coast of Africa, sweep across the Atlantic ocean towards the Americas and then turn North and East. Some don’t keep going and become less harmful Tropical Storms or Tropical Depressions, some fizzle out in the sea, but sometimes they strike land and the heavy rain and strong winds cause destruction and loss of life, such as Hurricane Katrina which devestated New Orleans in 2005. Once the hurricane is over land, it starts to loose strength and dies out.

Atlantic Hurricane season map for 2006

Atlantic Hurricane season map for 2006

This map shows the paths of Hurricanes during the 2006 “season”, which normally lasts from the end of June until October. Each hurricane is given a name, starting at A and going through the alphabet. In 2006, the hurricanes were named with alternating boy and girl’s names:
Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie, William.

The list is reused every six years, so this list will be reused in 2012. If there are any particularly devestating hurricanes, the name is ‘retired’, for example, Katrina will not be used again. In 2006, only the first nine names (upto Isaac) were used, and the record is 28 hurricanes in a year (2005), when they ran out of names.

From the map, you can see some of them travel across the Atlantic towards Britain, by which time, they have lost their powerful strength as they travel over cooler sea, although Britain can get heavy rain and gale force winds from the tail of the hurricane. For example in 2006, remnants of Hurricane Gordon gave a burst of wet and windy weather.

During the season, people in the path of hurricanes need to know if one if coming, and as well as watching weather forecasts, The National Hurricane Center, www.nhc.noaa.gov is one place where hurricanes can be tracked with the latest information, or @hurricanes on twitter

Hurricane map for 3rd September 2010

Hurricane map for 3rd September 2010

Hurricane safety advice for children is available at:
www.edu4hazards.org/hurricane.html

More information is available at:

Wikipedia on Hurricanes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane

BBC Weather guide:
www.bbc.co.uk/weather/features/understanding/hurricane_cycle.shtml

A hurricane website for children, including games and activities
www.fema.gov/kids/hurr.htm