Fans of Maps discussion

On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks
This topic is about On the Map
32 views
Group Challenges & Group Reads > 'Spring' 2013 Group Read - discussion

Comments (showing 1-45 of 45) (45 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
Placeholder for the discussion, which will be opened Feb 15.


message 2: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
Hope you all had a good Valentine's Day yesterday, or are having a good 'me' or 'singles' day today!

So, who's started, or perhaps even finished, this heavily illustrated chunker? I'm reading the paper version, and it's awfully heavy to read comfortably in bed, which is usually my best place to read. So, for that reason and others, I'm not done yet.


Carol Smith (arabicsmith) | 9 comments I'm done!


message 4: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
That Facebook map - that wrote itself - is gorgeous, and thought-provoking. I'm still having trouble absorbing what I'm reading - it feels more like trivia than treatise to me. Which I guess is okay, but not what I was expecting.


Carol Smith (arabicsmith) | 9 comments It's definitely an episodic read, which has both it's advantages and disadvantages. Advantage: if you don't care for the topic at hand, no worries. Things'll shift gears within a few pages. Disadvantage: more difficult to deliver a larger message. But I think the book moderately succeeds at this in the end.


Carol Smith (arabicsmith) | 9 comments If anyone finds a super high res image of Mappa Mundi online (free), please share. I found that one has to pay to get access. I want to see it in all its glory now! The black and white detail shots in the book are just teasers.


message 7: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson I've started. the last thing I read about were "politically correct" alternatives to the Mercator projection.


message 8: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
Tx Carol for your analyis of 'episodic read.' That helps me appreciate the work a bit more.


message 10: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
Tx Paul. Good points Steven. I'm done. I really liked the epilogue.


Ralph McEwen | 46 comments I finished and here is my review. The first couple of hundred pages cover the old maps. There were some fun tales, but somewhat redundant for anyone who has read about maps and their origins before. The second half of the book is more about the current function and future of cartography, I found it more interesting. The authors take on where cartography is going is most interesting.


message 13: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson This is my first group read. Let me throw something out and see where it lands.
Garfield starts in Alexandria. I recently read a book about Alexandria (It was supposed to be about Eratosthenes). What I found out was that they wanted to have a copy of every written work. That's fine, but after you have a couple of hundred how do you find a specific one that you are looking for?
Well, you put all the works by authors whose name begins with alpha in one place, all the works by authors whose names begin with beta in a second place, all the works by authors whose names begin with gamma in a third place, etc., etc., etc.
We have Zenodotus to thank for "inventing" alphabetical order. It has nothing to do with maps, but what do you think of that?


message 14: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
I think that's cool, Bob. Sorting by alph. seems obvious now, but someone had to come up with it first!


message 15: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
One of the things about maps that fascinates me is the distortions inherent in different projections. I was one of those growing up who thought Greenland was almost as big as Africa, and Africa not really all that big, based on the projection used back then.

So, I'm glad that Garfield points us to the Tissot Indicatrix. Check it out: http://blogs.esri.com/esri/arcgis/201...

The blogger is also an author - Aileen Buckley


message 17: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "One of the things about maps that fascinates me is the distortions inherent in different projections. I was one of those growing up who thought Greenland was almost as big as Africa, and Africa no..."

I suppose that I was lucky that there was a globe in my grandfather's room, so that I could see the real relative areas. Will Garfield explain how those things are manufactured?


message 18: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
He does have a chapter on globes, yes. Explain - well, insufficiently, imo.

Yes, the first educational thing I bought for my kids, as soon as they learned to ask questions, was a globe.


message 19: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson My speculation is that the definition that you have found isn't what the author intended, but I won't speculate any further about what the author intended.
If you want to, you can contact him at http://www.simongarfield.com/contact.asp


message 20: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
Heh. Tx, I meant to look that up & forgot.


message 21: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson Here's something to think about. In Europe, prior to the sixteenth century, east was at the top of the map. Then, as mapmakers came to Copernicus' point of view, north appeared at the top and west to the left. It's been that way ever since.

I think that it's time to reconsider our orientation. If your are going to talk about history and politics, leave things alone, but if your talking about climate change and other scientific topics, here's an alternative.

Start with a globe. Find the point in the Indian Ocean where 90 degrees W intersects the equator. Imagine that you could pull the geometric north pole to that point, dragging the graticule with it. (Graticule? If you don't know go to thefreedictionary.com and look it up). Then apply a (Universal Transverse) Mercator projection to that.

On the top you will have the Indian Ocean. On the bottom, you will have the eastern Pacific Ocean and western South America. More importantly, if what was the Equator is now your prime meridian, going from left to right, you will have the northern Pacific Ocean, the Arctic Ocean, the northern Atlantic, the southern Atlantic, Antarctica and the southern Pacific.

There will be no more whining about the relative areas of Greenland and Africa on the map, but more importantly, discussions about the disappearance of Arctic ice and permafrost, the gradual shrinking of Antarctica and the consequential rise of sea level can be looked at from a different point of view, literally. World history, from a geophysical point of view, over the past 22,000 years, or longer, can be more easily understood.

What do you think?


message 22: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson By the way, if you're interested in cartography prior to 1520, check out Toby Lester, "The Fourth Part of the World". Four stars. It would have been five if he had known when to end the book.


message 23: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
The Fourth Part of the World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth, and the Epic Story of the Map That Gave America Its Name - I'll check if it's in our group bookshelves, thanks.

Yes, I've often thought that changing the orientation and the center of the world map would be a good idea. I don't agree that it's 'whining' to point out how much bigger Africa is than Greenland, though. And, fyi, msg 17 has the link I posted that will let you fool around to see different projections and focuses.


message 24: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson Thanks. I really want to learn more about ArcGIS.

Bob


message 25: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
I'm having a bit of trouble understanding why it's so hard to make globes. Maybe the discussion was entirely focused on fine globes, those that are precise and beautiful? Because after all it's perfectly easy and cheap to go to Target or wherever and pick up a paper globe the family can use.
Thoughts?


Ralph McEwen | 46 comments Bob, the Nevada Department of Transportation where I work uses ArcGIS. I have run it a few times. I might be able to get a question answered.


message 27: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson Thanks Ralph


message 28: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson Garfield writes about why two continents are called North America and South America rather than North Columbia and South Colombia. The argument that Toby Lester made was that the Waldseemuller map, the first post-Gutenburg map that was widely available in Europe, had "Amerigo" inscribed where a modern day map might have the phrase "Guyana Highlands" inscribed. Columbus' name did not appear on the map.

Why? We don't know, but one possibility is that Vespucci publicly declared that what Columbus had found by the Amacuro delta was not Asia, but a new continent. Columbus, to his dying day, thought that he had reached the east by sailing west.

I believe that these continents should be named in honor of Columbus. A big step on the path of that happening would be for the United States of America to acknowledge that the constitution of 1787 is no longer useful. A committee of the smartest United- States-of-Americans along with some Canadians should write a constitution that makes sense in the 21st century. Then the USA should ratify the 28th Amendment that would say "This constitution is hereby replaced by the Constitution of the Republic of North Columbia and it's enabling legislation."

What do you think?


message 29: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
I don't like it at all. We've got a pretty dang good constitution, and Columbus was not a hero.
But thanks for sharing your thoughts!


message 30: by Betsy (new)

Betsy | 148 comments I agree with Cheryl.


message 31: by John (new)

John Downey (Ecowolf) | 4 comments Bob wrote: "Garfield writes about why two continents are called North America and South America rather than North Columbia and South Colombia. The argument that Toby Lester made was that the Waldseemuller map,..."

Hi Bob, sorry to disagree, but Columbus and his men were methodically sadistic, killing, torturing and maiming the native Indians in untold numbers. Very bad people.


message 32: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson Relying on Washington Irving's "Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus", it was the screwballs that started the mutiny on Hispaniola who began the ethnic cleansing of the original inhabitants, while Columbus was away. Columbus wasn't a chief executive on Hispaniola, Borinquen, Cuba or anywhere else, other than his ships. Slavery was started by the Spanish royalty, not Columbus.
Regarding the constitution, I'll refrain from going any further.


message 33: by John (new)

John Downey (Ecowolf) | 4 comments Hi Bob: I have not read Washington Irving's work, so I will obtain a copy and compare it to what I have learned. I have relied partially on Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" to understand what really happened after 1492. It is a good read and I recommend it. No harm meant. John


message 34: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson Looking at Wikipedia, during the period 1781-1789, the union of the thirteen former British colonies in North America were call simply "the Confederation" or "the United States", no "America, no "Columbia" no "West India", no nothing. In 1787 they chose to honor Vespucci. I just wonder how that happened.


message 35: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson "The Mountains of Kong" brought to a country that was fabricated, but not on a map.
When I was a boy, I collected postage stamps. When I was starting out my grandfather would bring me these envelopes containing hundreds of stamps, which I would sort by country and place in in an album. I came across a stamp from a country that I couldn't identify. So, I went to the library and the source of all knowledge about postage stamps, Scott's catalog.
It took a certain amount of patience, but I eventually found out that an Asian country called Tanna Tuva issued postage stamps, but there never was such a country. So who issued the postage stamps? Scott's was mute on the subject.


message 36: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
Ok I fell behind - sorry! I'm glad you've been sharing interesting ideas while I was gone... maybe I should lurk more often....


message 37: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson For a very detailed story of the mapping of the USA, west of the Mississippi, from Lewis and Clark to John Wesley Powell, check out "Exploration and Empire" by Goetzmann. It came out in the sixties and is not available as an ebook (that's a good thing). It's great! The only annoying thing is that the maps don't always jibe with the text. If you can read it leisurely, it wood be good to do with Google Earth at your fingertips.


message 39: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "I'm having a bit of trouble understanding why it's so hard to make globes. Maybe the discussion was entirely focused on fine globes, those that are precise and beautiful? Because after all it's p..."

Well, it's a month after your post but here goes.

My nephew's wife told me that their sun had an interest in oceans. He was six at the time. I stored that in my mind. Months later, I found out about Real World Globes (realworldglobes.com). Their globes show mid-ocean ridges and trenches and so forth, and they are large. I thought that one would be a great gift for my nephews family. So I order one.

The cost for shipping one of these things from California to New Jersey would be more than the cost of the globe, so they manufacture a kit to be assembled, complete with those gores for every fifteen degrees of longitude. Check it out. My nephew is an engineer for Boeing, so of course he would be able to assemble this.

Two years later, it's still in the box. Grumble.


message 40: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
Hmm. I can see that. And I can empathize with your frustration. It was a cool gift.. too bad.


message 41: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson This has been my first group read. It hasn't turned out to be what I thought it would be. What's wrong? It is the book, or the group, or my expectations?


message 42: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
I don't know. The group, mainly, I guess. None of our group reads have gone over well. People don't seem to want to talk about these books, or maybe even read them. Maybe non-fiction that's not controversial is hard to talk about, not stimulating. Sorry.


message 43: by Betsy (new)

Betsy | 148 comments Bob wrote: "This has been my first group read. It hasn't turned out to be what I thought it would be. What's wrong? It is the book, or the group, or my expectations?"

What were you expecting, Bob? I know Cheryl has been fretting about the lack of participation in the group, but I frankly am happy with it. I belong to other groups where there are monthly group reads and I can't keep up with those either.

But I still enjoy being in this group. People occasionally post interesting books or maps they've come across. But I think map books are not that ripe for discussion. How many different ways can you say "this book was interesting".

If you think we should be having more discussion, what would you like to discuss?


message 44: by Bob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bob Gustafson I was expecting more dialog, and I was throwing out little pieces each Sunday, but no matter.


message 45: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 633 comments Mod
Thanks Betsy. I feel better knowing that what little we do here is sufficient & appreciated.


back to top

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

Hereford World Map: Medieval World Maps and their Context (other topics)
Map Use: Reading and Analysis (other topics)
The Fourth Part of the World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth, and the Epic Story of the Map That Gave America Its Name (other topics)
Exploration and Empire: The Explorer & the Scientist in the Winning of the American West (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Aileen R. Buckley (other topics)