Archive for the Neogeography Category

Natural Earth Vector is here!

Posted in Data, Neogeography with tags on December 3, 2009 by hansvandermaarel

Those of you who follow the cartographic news will undoubtedly have heard of this already, but Natural Earth Vector has finally been released. This is a royalty-free vector dataset for the entire world at scales 1:10M, 1:50M and 1:110M. Existing datasets tend to be way too detailed for these scale levels (VMAP0, for example, is meant for scale 1:1M… OpenStreetmap is aimed at even smaller scales).

Many volunteers (including yours truly) have put in a lot of time and effort to create this dataset. Many thanks to everybody who contributed.

If you want to take a look at the data, please visit

Emotional Cartography

Posted in Maps, Neogeography with tags , on May 1, 2009 by hansvandermaarel

There’s a free e-book available on Emotional Cartography. From the summary:

Emotional Cartography is a collection of essays from artists, designers, psychogeographers, cultural researchers, futurologists and neuroscientists, brought together by Christian Nold, to explore the political, social and cultural implications of visualising intimate biometric data and emotional experiences using technology.

I haven’t had a chance to read through the whole thing myself, but it certainly looks very interesting.

House numbers on Google Maps

Posted in Maps, Neogeography with tags on September 4, 2008 by hansvandermaarel

I just noticed that Google Maps is now showing house numbers in The Netherlands on the higher zoom levels (both map and hybrid views). More specifically, they appear to be the start numbers of the house number range per road segment, in both directions.

I think this is quite cool. Must be a very recent addition because I only just noticed it. The numbers have been available in the Tele Atlas/Navteq datasets for a long time though. A quick check shows they’re available for Belgium, France and Germany as well. Other countries maybe as well, but not the UK or US as far as I can tell.

Creating custom Google Map tilesets

Posted in Data, Maps, Neogeography with tags , on July 9, 2008 by hansvandermaarel

Based on a few questions coming in through Cartotalk over the past few months, I’ve decided to look into offering some services around the creation of custom Google Map tilesets. This is in effect and extra layer with any georeferenced data you like, appearing inside Google Maps, running on your own website.

Global Mapper, which I’ve raved about before, offers a nifty way to export any georeferenced raster image to a Google Maps tileset, it will even generate the html and javascript for you. Unfortunately, in the case of maps it’s generally not a matter of pressing a button and it will magically work. There’s a few things to keep in mind and those are the things I hope to add value to my customers with.

  • Resolution
  • Projection
  • Design for screen, rather than print

Basically it boils down to making sure the image that is read by Global Mapper is as close to the correct projection and resolution as possible, to avoid resampling. I’ve put a few samples online on the Red Geographics website.  As always, feel free to contact me if there’s questions.

In addition to the design, another important thing to keep in mind is the optimization of the images. I’m partnering with Derek Tonn of GraphicsOptimization for this. It’s amazing how much smaller he can squeeze the images and still have them look the same (at least to the naked eye). A 20% reduction in the case of b/w aerial photography for example (not bad if you consider the 2 sets together weighed in at 120 Mb before optimization). This saves time, energy and ultimately, money.

Google Map Maker

Posted in Data, Neogeography with tags , , on June 25, 2008 by hansvandermaarel

Slightly confusing title perhaps, but it seems Google is going the OpenStreetMap route with their new Google Map Maker service. This lets users add and/or edit features (points, lines and areas) for Google Maps.

Currently, the only areas supported are the ones that are sparsely covered by Google Maps in the first place, a number of Caribbean islands, Iceland, Pakistan, Cyprus, Vietnam. Edits and additions are moderated and of course you’re signing away all your rights to the edits you made to Google 🙂

It reminds me a bit of Wikimapia, or the “community” layer in Google Earth. You’d be amazed at what you can find in there!

Google’s done it again: Google Earth API

Posted in Neogeography, Software with tags , on May 28, 2008 by hansvandermaarel

Well… they sure surprised me 🙂 The Google Earth API was unleashed today. No time yet to give it a try (and apparently the plug-in doesn’t work all that well on Firefox 3.0), but if I can find the time, I may just have to tinker with this. I did quite some programming around the Google Maps API a few years ago, but moved on…

One thing I wonder about is how this will affect the mapping and GIS industry. The release of the Google Maps API saw a lot of interest being generated in this field, which is of course a good thing. I think we’ll see a similar, though less pronounced, effect from this new development.

Tactile map and geohashing

Posted in Maps, Neogeography with tags , , , on May 21, 2008 by hansvandermaarel

Long time between updates, that means that nothing super exciting happened (at least not in the geo/carto part of my life). Not entirely true, as I did spot this tactile map of downtown York when I was visiting a friend in Yorkshire last week:

In other news:

Today I stumbled upon Geohashing, the algorithm is explained in the webcomic xkcd. Apparently it’s a bit like geocaching, but there’s no guarantee you’ll find anything interesting once you reach the coordinates.