If we’ll ever get to go to Mars as tourists, we wouldn’t get lost. Ordnance Survey, the official British mapping agency, recently released a new detailed map of the Red Planet. What makes it so special is its simplicity. The focus for Chris Wesson, OS’s cartographic design consultant, was to keep it easy for anybody to understand, whereas planetary maps are designed with merely a scientific angle in mind.
How to monitor the effects of El Niño? The Nature Conservancy wants to take advantage of the massive image production that can be collected using smartphones and drones. From this month they are asking tech enthusiasts to capture the flooding and coastal erosion caused by El Niño. The idea is that crowd-sourced, geotagged images of storm surges and flooded beaches will give scientists a brief window into what the future holds as sea levels rise for global warming.
Sarah Parcak is a pioneering “satellite archaeologist” from University of Alabama, a sort of Indiana Jones with 21st century tech. She has been awarded the 2016 TED Prize for her work applying infrared imagery from satellites to help locate ancient sites lost in time. Her revolutionary methods helped her discover ancient cities and astonishing sites around the world, but especially in Egypt, where she came across 17 unknown pyramids, more than 1000 tombs and 3100 settlements.
Onomichi, a city in the Hiroshima prefecture in Japan, has recently launched an online street view map to introduce the view of the city by a cat’s perspective. From the feline residents, the Cat Street View map offers a fresh angle to look at the urban space in a different way, disclosing the hidden routes and secret paths that were never visible before.
Before global positioning systems, we all used maps. And they could be very annoying. Stopping along the way because you didn’t remember which turn you should take, the clumsy sizes and hard way to fold it back. Never mind the arguments on map reading skills… Whew! It all belongs to the past. Maps and satellite navigation devices are the best invention! But don’t lose your mind.
The results of people blindly following digital directions into large bodies of water, the wrong way on a busy road, and yes, even trees, show that we might have all become just a little too reliant on those helpful voices that guide us along our way. From the Analogue vs Digital Memory Game.
The definition of the word “mountweazel” is the following: “any invented word or name inserted in a reference work by a publisher for the purpose of detecting plagiarism”. In her funny and informative podcast on linguistic facts, English writer Helen Zaltzman from The Allusionist, explores the existence of fake entries in dictionaries and encyclopedias.
Liam Young is a speculative architect who, in his own words, “operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures”. With his London-based design think tank, Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today, he explores the future implications of emerging urban developments. Named by Blueprint magazine as one of 25 people who will change architecture and design, Young uses fiction and film to discuss probable futures. He has also co-founded Unknown Fields Division with Kate Davies, an award winning nomadic workshop that travels on annual expeditions to the ends of the Earth, investigating unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and industrial ecologies. Unknown Fields have developed projects through expeditions from the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Galapagos Islands to North Alaska, the mining landscapes of the Australian Outback, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.