Week 9 Blog_Stang

Both of week 9’s maps depict a natural disaster in their own ways. I think that Suave’s Crevasse appears to have a focus on what happened and what the consequences of the event are. For instance, it clearly shows that a levee break was responsible for the disbursement of water to certain areas. The map did a good job of showing these things to me, but it left me wondering certain things. I’m specifically curious about the other potential variables that may have played a role in the levee break. Also, I would like to know what came after the damage. We’re certain areas able to recover faster than others? How long did it take to sort this all out? What I can conclude from me having these questions is that the purpose of the map is surely not to tell a story with information because it probably couldn’t have done a worse job of that. It thinks that the overall purpose shows the viewer information about the extent of the damage itself. Without the additional text provided by Colten, it would be extremely hard to know anything about the facts leading up to the breach and any subsequent effects other than the flooding clearly shown on the map.



The second map was way more visually appealing to me. This may be because of the artist nature of it. In the map you can see that a flood has occurred and people dealing with it. One difference between the maps is that the first map focused almost entirely on the environment, while the second map shows how human life was affected by the disaster. An example of this is that you can see buildings sinking in flood water and individuals helplessly looking on.  I really love the second map because you can close your eyes and see yourself there because of the way the landscape is presented. I think that the purpose pf the second map is paint a mental image of a disaster rather than just showing a dull overview of where flood water settled after a flood.

Meehan, Sundt, Zhang – Stage 4

Insurance and Disasters
First, Coleman wrote an introduction for flood insurance and hail insurance.by using the historical information we collected from Stage 3 resources. In the first part, we will also mention our focus on Douglas County and introduce the basic data for the long history of community emergencies and natural disasters.
⁃Second, Kaylee has complied the natural disasters distribution in Omaha from 1950 to 2010 (the latest version we can find). She found the hail data set for the time range. The problem is the data contains more than 330,000 data points, so even Nebraska has more than 30,000 data. We still cannot successfully embed it into the ArcGis (the file is too large), but she is able to open that in QGIS such as below. She cannot change the expression of the data, so it is not that clear. We did the ArcGis Story Map as a format to present, so it is another problem for her to upload this data to ArcGis.
⁃Third, I complied census and GIS data from NHGIS website from 1950 to 2010 showing the demographical changes in Black and White as well as Asian. Then we would like to compare this map to the hail damage loss data and try to seek two or three stand out zip codes. My map of the data can be found under My Stories in ArcGIS: http://storymaps.arcgis.com/en/my-stories/
⁃Then, we will use the zip code to different insurance company website and get an estimated quote on disaster insurance. By using the data we found, we could make statement that whether insurance and disasters are related to demographics or not. (We are still struggling to get the hail and census data on the same map. Our map showing an introduction text and one slice of census data can be found here: http://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=0d06649bf5ac4c5992d049cb0923f1be

Macro-Creating Your Map

Though Google Earth and the Cassini Terrestrial and Celestial Globes clearly come from two different eras they both demonstrate the realities of map making. Though both these maps attempt to demonstrate an accurate reflection of our world, they are ultimately unsuccessful. This is not due to any flaw of the cartographer, but rather due to the nature of map making: no map can accurately reflect the world.

Google Earth is one of the major cartographic advancements of the last century. However, even Google Earth which is extremely accurate and familiar to users is flawed. David Y. Allen in A Mirror of Our World: Google Earth and the History of Cartography, points out that often there is incorrect data for rural or less developed regions of the world on Google Earth. Due to necessity and convenience Google Earth is promoting an urban American centric world view. When one opens Google Earth the first image is of the Western hemisphere with America in the center. This was a conscious choice by the map maker furthering urban and American prioritization.  

Similarly in the maps Cassini Terrestrial and Celestial Globes (1790-1792), the celestial globe is incredibly human centric. It has imagery of human experiences, though these experiences are being applied to space. Similarly, using the globe shape, one familiar to the mapping of Earth, creates a comparison between Earth and space that is not necessarily grounded in reality.

Human representation in Celestial Map


Though the Celestial map clearly is influenced by culture, this is not necessarily the case in the map of the Earth that was split on four pages. This map successfully demonstrates the realities of displaying a curved Earth on a flat plane. However, it is important to note that a lot of practicality is lost in mapping the world like this. This map loses a lot of its wayfinding potential. It seems there is a battle between practicality and accuracy in cartography.

Though no map is ever perfect in its representation of the world, each map, especially Google Earth and the Cassini Terrestrial and Celestial Globes demonstrate a specific social perception of our world tailored to a specific audience.


Gores Weekly Post

When analyzing the maps from this week’s readings and maps that we have seen all throughout our course, it is easy to tell that no two maps are the same, no two cartographers are the same and there is no correct map of our world. Prior to this course, I just assumed that every map was a correct depiction of what reality is, and that mapping was something that was concrete and without bias. I now know this is untrue. Comparing even the Cassini globe gores to  google maps is something that I still would not have assumed to be that different. However, as we look at them each in the readings, we see quite a bit. Both give a 3D viewership, but both portray differences and could potentially be seen with flaws.  Both have color distortions as the google maps globe does not account for clouds, seasons, or time of day. We read in David Allen’s exerpt of Google Maps that ” It is remarkable for its relatively detailed and comprehensive coverage of the earth’s surface, for its speed and flexibility, for its relative ease of use, and for its ability to incorporate new information from users.”. While I’m sure this is true, I still believe it lacks in details or scope of what our world is really like.
The Cassini globe, as you can see, also appears to be disproportionate in the size of different continents. As we read, cartographers tend to enlarge where it is they are from on the map, to seem to add more value or power to that county’s perception.

Image of the earth taken from Google Earth.

When I say that it is tough to pick any one map as the correct, I think it is well said by Denis Cosgrove as my favorite quote through his reading says “Arguably, all these worlds can be mapped in the sense of being presented graphically according to spatial criteria, and indeed imaginative and affective relations play a significant role in world maps”. This I  think perfectly sums up the biases that are associated with maps based on the cartographer and I think that is something I will definitely keep in mind whenever I see a map in the future.

Sundt Blog Post

One thing that immediately stood out to me from this weeks reading was that the culture that maps are made in greatly influence the map. As we have talked about throughout the course, many cartographers in the early years put their country in the middle of the map. There is no such thing as a perfectly correct map, so every map is greatly influenced by who created it.

“The significance of mapping always extends beyond the description of physi­cal earth, into the human implications of the ”world.”” This is my favorite quote from the reading. I believe that it shows what the article is trying to get across. I had not thought of the implications of religion in making a world map. It mentioned how people’s religion is a major focus on how they make the map. Cartographers want to show and include what they believe in in the map. Mapping the world is universal, everyone can relate to it because we all live on this earth together. Mapping as we have learned is not just about mathematics. Mapping is also a form of art where you can show your beliefs.

It also mentions in the article that the Chinese and many others would have their county in the middle of the map. This happens because being in the middle can be shown as a sense of power. Cartographers would also tend to make their country larger than other countries. This is also because size can show a sense of power. I realized that I too would also not want my country to seem small. It is human nature to want to feel important, so I too would want my country to seem larger than it actually is.

Finally, I found it interesting to think about what google earth leaves out. They say that their (globe) is an accurate representation of the earth from space. This seems to be generally true but what they leave out is interesting to me. Specifically, they leave out clouds, seasons, and make it day time throughout the entire earth. I also think their color choice is interesting. They choose colors that are very appeling to the eye. I think that this is needed because even though it may not be 100% accurate they want us to like the image. For us to believe in their map color is a very important factor. Maybe if they used the most accurate colors it would not be appealing and we would not accept the map.

Weekly Blog Post

The maps this week aim to depict the globe in it’s entirety using a 2D image. It is impossible to fully plot out the world, but maps allow cartographers to put what are, in their perspective, the most important/informative aspects into their representation. It’s interesting to note how oftentimes, this can be seen in the way the cartographer puts their country at the center of the map. Over the course of history, maps have evolved to reflect what is currently most important to society. Both the similarities and differences between today’s maps, such as Google Earth, and older ones are extremely interesting to note. For example, both the modern and more historical maps both use longitude/latitude lines as markers, but the older maps use more symbolic representation and offer a 2D rather than 3D depiction of the world. Today, Google Earth is widely considered to offer a pretty accurate and comprehensive view of the world. I think Allen makes a good point when he describes the map as creating a “mirror world”. I would argue that Google Earth is a useful tool with it’s ability to show different parts of the world in great detail, so that you can almost feel as though you’ve physically traveled across the world, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have silences or unconscious biases of its own. For example, it’s focus is on the current state of the world, and it emphasizes more populated, technologically/economically advanced areas to a certain extent. Additionally, Google Earth, although it offers one of the most up to date depictions of the world, still only show certain screenshots of time.

Screenshot of Google Earth map
Screenshot of Cassini map as 3D representation

The Cassini map projected on a 3D globe suddenly appears similar to the modern depiction of the world on Google Earth, but shows a different focus more reflective of that past time than of today.

Blog Post 9

What I found most interesting about this week’s reading was how each world map is a product of the culture it was created in. As stated in the Ackerman reading, I have always thought of world maps as mirrors of the world. Maps are mirrors of the author’s or culture’s worldview, but not reflective of how the world really looks.

This world map created in China displays China at the center of the world, reflecting the Chinese belief that China was the center of everything. The map also does not show anything beyond the Chinese empire because anything outside was not of importance to the author and Chinese culture in 1710.

Ackerman also wrote that, “A world map pictures the totality of the lived space of a culture.” (Ackerman 69) The 1792 Cassini map also displays the world in a way that the author, influenced by his culture, saw the world.

The farther away from Europe, the more exotic-looking figures on the map look. This map displays how the author viewed and mapped the sky/heavens, but also shows a lot about what he believed about the world. At the South pole there are wild animals like a peacock and a crocodile and a man clothed in what the author thought people of that area looked like. Closer to Europe, the constellations pictured are much more ordered than those from farther away. This reflects the ethnocentric mapping tendencies mentioned in the Ackerman reading. Map authors create maps in a way that makes sense to them, which means that the map may not be universally understood or be accurately represented.

In the modern era, we might tend to think that new technologies have made current maps much more accurate than maps created in the 1700s, but as argued in the Allen reading, even Google Maps, our most updated mapping system is influenced by the culture that it was created in. Allen argues that Google Earth reflects Western ideas by highlighting commercial locations, like stores. Allen argues that this reflects the Western culture’s emphasis on capitalism. Google Earth also reflects Western ideas by putting more emphasis on urban, rather than rural, areas. This is displayed by comparing my high school in rural Alaska and the White House.

The quality and resolution of the White House is much better than my high school. The quality of locations might be different if the program was created in a country that valued working-class areas rather than capitalist ideas.

Weekly Blog Post 14–Casper

After analyzing the readings this week, the map I found most compelling was the Cassini Terrestrial and Celestial Globes. The thing that stood out to me the most was the accuracy and depiction of the world. Cassini developed this globe in 1790, and although he was a renowned geographer, engraver, and publisher, the lack of technology available at the time would have deterred and hindered anyone from embarking on this path. Nonetheless, Cassini ventured and succeeded.

Cassini Terrestrial Map (1790) Overlayed on Google Earth

From this stunning picture, which was beautifully GeoReferenced by David Rumsey, we can see the accuracy in which Cassini made his 1790 map. One other thing I noted about Cassini’s map was the historical facts which he chose to depict. The late 18th century, being a big wave of exploration, Cassini appropriately depicts Captain James Cook’s exploration of the Hawaiian Islands. By adding James Cook’s route, it seems as if Cassini is paying homage to the explorer, who died 11 years before this map was made.

Although this map is beautifully made, scholars must ask the if the Google Earth map, which Casini’s map is overlayed, is truly accurate itself. Map Librarian, David Allen, seeks to do just that in his publication A Mirror of Our World: Google Earth and the History of Cartography. Much like all mapmaking and technological advances, “Google Earth is very much a response to the cartographic needs of a particular time and place” (Allen, 2009). However accurate the portrayal of our world may be, Allen argues, it is a representation of the modern needs of our society. I thought this was particularly interesting because I never thought of the additional information on Google Earth (coffee shops, traffic information, flight simulator) to be supporting the map. But Allen says that it is a “mirror world” because it reflects the needs of our society. He concludes this point by saying “Although it is an advanced product of a specific cultural tradition, the type of mapping it represents has come to be widely accepted throughout the world…This may suggest that the world as portrayed in Google Earth is in some sense more realistic or more useful” (Allen, 2009).

The opening screen of Google Earth focuses in on North America. We see the world as we have learned to perceive it.


Blog Post 9 – Burlingham

When I say “world,” the concept that comes to mind will be far different than someone else’s. This is because “world,” is a social concept that will vary depending on the context of its utterance (Cosgrove 65). The varying conceptions and the spatial dimensions of the Earth are why so many different interpretations of maps have come into existence. Further, “every culture creates a ‘world,’ in which it is ‘at home’ and beyond which other spaces seem alien, exotic, often threatening. A world map pictures the totality of the lived space of a culture” (Cosgrove 69). It seems rather contradictory, and arguably unrealistic, for one person to make an accurate world map. Her geographical location and cultural background will differ greatly from that of someone from somewhere else, and the lack of insight to other cultures often silences crucial pieces of information that pertain to one’s lived world. The maps of cultures outside the Western lens depict the world in a vastly different way e.g. Frontispiece and The Vermont Phoenix Dollar Atlas. 

Moreover, “world maps are inescapably ethnocentric to some degree, and this remains true of modern maps, although the globe itself possesses neither center nor borders”  (Cosgrove 69).

Google Earth is a particularly useful tool for its accessibility, spatial dimensions, and because it has main attractions and facts in addition to geographical boundaries. When searching Malta, I was not only able to view the street view, but also find facts about the island, and the various attractions that it boasts. This is supplemented via Wikipedia and it enhances the map by revealing stories, places, buildings, and facts that pertain to the culture of the area. It is trying to mirror what is represented in each location, though it too has its faults. For example, it has no clouds, and this impacts the overall color of some of the geographical locations (e.g. the Blue Lagoon in Comino is not very blue at all).

Another use of Google maps is that it allows previous maps to be layered on top of it. The Cassini terrestrial and celestial maps were made in the 18thcentury, but were georeferenced and projected onto Google Earth. He mapped all of the known celestial features depicting all of the “Heavens and all the known stars and constellations.” However, Cassini’s maps fell in line with western cartographic practices, had they not like several maps from Cosgrove’s book, then Google Earth would not be useful.

Blog Post 9 – Zhang

Apparently, different geographer will think the globe differently. The Cassini Globe Gores projected onto a virtual globe and we can see that in Google Earth. The similarities and differences of the new and old things in Google earth are worth to see.

According to Allen, the Google earth is much more like a conventional globe than the satellite view of the earth. The low-resolution satellite view of the earth will not appear as a realistic view in space. The imagery do not reflect the real world, but it is how we perceived at the first look.

Ackerman believed ‘ World’ is a social concept. Like what he said in the passage, ‘ when we claim that an autistic child lives in her own world, we are referring to her social and communication skills as much as to her relations with her material environment.’ It is also a flexible word and and can be mapped by physical ideas and culture.  No matter how different their views are, it is the fact the google earth map has been a fundamental guide in people’s mind viewing the Earth and the Planet.