Plan and Profile of a Louisiana Landscape

I’m working on the illustrations for _The Makers of Things_. Some get done quickly; some take far longer than I imagined. The illustration that pairs a map view with an elevation cross section proved to be one of the latter (as always, click to embiggen):

Plan and Elevation of Eunice to Mamou

Plan and Elevation of Eunice to Mamou

I’m fairly happy with these stripped-down maps, focusing, I hope, readers’ attention.


Having read the [Wired article about MapBox][w], I tried my hand at making a map using the web UI. It requires some planning and some patience, but I can see some utility. I set out to make a map of all the crawfish boat makers, but I need the lat/long coordinates to place markers. (I’ll have to dig those numbers up.) In the mean time, here’s my map of the Louisiana prairies:


Google Earth Time Machine

[Google Earth Time Machine found an oxbow lake being formed in Texas][getm] using imagery from 1944, 1995, 2004, 2006, and 2010. It’s a fantastic series of images and a terrific reminder that real science, and history, work can be done using seemingly consumer tools like [Google Earth][ge]. That reminder is important to all of us: parents, teachers, citizens of the planet (and of each other).

Google Earth image of oxbow lake being formed near Angleton, Texas


[Google premières 3D imagery on iOS devices]( It’s not through the Maps application but through Google Earth for iOS, and it appears only to work on the iPhone 4S, iPad2, and the new retina iPad. (Was I the only person who didn’t know Google Earth was available on iOS?)

Field Papers

I’ve been checking out Field Papers, which makes it possible to create custom maps using Open Street Maps data. The way it is set up now, you can zoom in and out to capture within a bounding box the area you want to map. You can set the number of pages. Field Papers will then create a map as a series of overlapping PDFs that you can download, print, and piece together. Voila, a map of your own making.

[Here’s one of my own making](

Old Maps Explain Current Divisions

I don’t entirely know what to make of these patterns, but the patterns are fascinating in and of themselves: wherein older divides, between Catholics and Protestants in late nineteenth century Germany in the first case and between Imperial German and Imperial Russian parts of Poland in the second case, actually map onto current political divisions. The maps are below and the links to the articles are below their respective maps.