News

A Sizable Challenge: Mapping Alaska

The tallest peak in North America is a bit of an attention hog. It made headlines this summer when its name changed from Mount McKinley to Denali, and it returned to the news in the fall when surveyors shaved 10 feet off its elevation.

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Why Cannibals Were on Every 16th-Century Map of the New World

Many of the first European maps of the Americas included warnings of cannibalism, despite no proof of such activity. James Walker’s “From Alterity to Allegory: Depictions of Cannibalism on Early European Maps of the New World,” published earlier this year as Occasional Paper Number 9 from the Philip Lee Phillips Map Society of the Library of Congress, examines how and why the macabre myth endured.

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Laser Cutting Bathymetric Maps

Bathymetry is the underwater equivalent to topography. And with the right map data, you can make some amazing 3D laser cut maps that feature both land masses — and the details under the sea. [Logan] just learned how to do this, and is sharing his knowledge with us.

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Scientists Are Mapping the World's Largest Volcano

After 36 days of battling sharks that kept biting their equipment, scientists have returned from the remote Pacific Ocean with a new way of looking at the world’s largest—and possibly most mysterious—volcano, Tamu Massif.

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Mapping the Sexism of City Street Names

A lot of things are named after people: food, theories, diseases, and among the most common, streets. Martin Luther King Jr. alone has more than 900 streetsnamed after him throughout the U.S. Then there are several streets named after presidents like George Washington, scientists like Isaac Newton, and other historical figures.

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America Got Her Name From this 1507 Map

The Universalis Cosmographia, a 1507 cartographic exploration of the known world, depicted the New World as two entirely separate continents. This was quite a revolutionary stance on the early days of the Age of Discovery: many people still believed that the New World was connected to Asia. Although we now know that North and South America are a single continent, this ambitious map by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller is rightfully revered for giving America its name.

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The "Real" Map of Africa

We often think of a map as a realistic representation of the world, but it is actually quite the opposite: a neat and idealistic drawing of borders in what are often messy places with no visible demarcations on the ground. A map can depict state sovereignty over areas with little to no actual governance. Nowhere is the gap between reality and cartographic representation greater than in parts of Africa.

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Here is a map of... something in DC. Can you guess what?

Here is another map of... something in DC. Last time we showed a map of buildings most likely to be inundated by a hurricane surge, and everyone who guessed got it right. Do you know what this one is showing? This week's clues are the zoom-in maps themselves.

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Maps Made 'From the Mind,' Not From GPS

When we aren’t sure how to get somewhere, our first instinct is to plug the address into a GPS gadget and let the program figure out the rest. But by relying so much on GPS, we miss out on the thrill of exploration.

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Scientists map source of Northwest’s next big quake

A large team of scientists has nearly completed the first map of the mantle under the tectonic plate that is colliding with the Pacific Northwest and putting Seattle, Portland and Vancouver at risk of the largest earthquakes and tsunamis in the world.

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A New Map of the Arctic?

In the early months of 1846, a hundred and twenty-six sailors and officers, commanded by Captain John Franklin of the Royal British Navy, sailed south from their winter harbor on Beechey Island, in the Canadian Arctic. They went in search of the Northwest Passage, the fabled route connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific; what they found instead was some of the thickest sea ice in the world.

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This Map Shows How Far El Chapo’s Power Extends Past Mexico

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera’s escape through a hole in the shower from the maximum security Altiplano prison outside Mexico City in July was more than a major embarrassment for President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration. The elaborate escape through a roughly 1-mile tunnel also offered a stark demonstration that the world’s top drug lord wields so much power that Mexican authorities are incapable of stopping him.  

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A Mesmerizing Map of Rainfall on Earth

As Cassini sails through the ice plumes of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, New Horizons discovers red ice on the surface of Pluto, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter finds evidence of liquid water flowing on the slopes on Mars, it can be easy to forget that the water here on Earth is pretty amazing, too.

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