Help Those in Need by Mapping

Google Maps, Apple Maps, Mapquest, and other American-made mapping solutions work really well in developed regions where there are lots of businesses, however, outside those ares their maps lack quality. Rural parts of countries around the world don’t have the detail of urban centres when it comes to things like building locations and paths. This is particular true in the developing world.

Open Street Map (OSM) is better in the majority world and now it’s easier than ever to help the world get mapped. Using their online editing tool you can help poorer parts of the planet get the maps they need. Why are maps so important? It helps emergency workers respond effectively after a disaster and to help OSM be more useful coders have created the HOT Tasking Manager.

You can spend five minutes of your coffee break helping others from your computer.

The Tasking Manager is a mapping tool designed and built for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team’s collaborative mapping process in OpenStreetMap. The purpose of the tool is to divide up a mapping project into smaller tasks that can be completed rapidly with many people working on the same overall area. It shows which areas need to be mapped and which areas need the mapping validated.

This approach allows the distribution of tasks to many individual mappers in the context of emergency or other humanitarian mapping scenario. It also allows monitoring of the overall project progress and helps improve the consistency of the mapping (e.g., elements to cover, specific tags to use, etc.).

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A Community-Driven Map of Pre-Colonized Land

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If you’ve ever wondered about the history of the land you’re on then this website (and app) is for you! The website Native-Land collects historical data from around the world of what peoples claimed what land so any curious individual can investigate some cartographic history. Layers on the map include territory, language, and treaties which cover North America. Mapping territory can complicate reconciliation issues as it may inadvertently rewrite history; to counter this the online teacher’s guide brings up good resources and questions.

Temprano emphasizes that Native Land maps are constantly being refined by user input, and he welcomes data submissions. On the website, he also cautions about the nature of mapping. “I feel that Western maps of Indigenous nations are very often inherently colonial, in that they delegate power according to imposed borders that don’t really exist in many nations throughout history. They were rarely created in good faith, and are often used in wrong ways.”

Reorientation to the Indigenous perspective, though, just might offer an entirely new way to experience this continent.

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Thanks to Delaney!

A New Look at an Old Place Wins Prestigious Japanese Award

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Hajime Narukawa has won the Good Design Award for a making a map. It might seem trite to some of you but a map has the power to change the way we think about the world. Sadly the most popular map printed today uses the Mercator projection which was originally designed for mariners (and worked really well!). The problem is that the Mercator projection has a multitude of flaws which greatly distorts reality; for example, Alaska appears to be larger than Brazil despite the fact the opposite is true. This representation of the globe distorts our thinking about it.

With that context in mind, the fact that a map won the Good Design Award must imply that it does something quite different. The map is known as an AuthaGraph projection and it does something that most maps can’t do.

Narukawa developed a map projection method called AuthaGraph (and founded a company of the same name in 2009) which aims to create maps that represent all land masses and seas as accurately as possible. Narukawa points out that in the past, his map probably wasn’t as relevant. A large bulk of the 20th century was dominated by an emphasis on East and West relations. But with issues like climate change, melting glaciers in Greenland and territorial sea claims, it’s time we establish a new view of the world: one that equally perceives all interests of our planet.

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Putting CO2 Emissions on a Map

In the fight to curb CO2 emissions and hold back the rate of increasing climate change, researches have mapped out where the emissions are coming from. Unsurprisingly, they have found that where there is a lot of human activity there are more emissions. This will help convince naysayers and ignoramuses that humans are at fault for climate change and now we know the exact areas where we need to drastically cut emissions.

Using simulation results from 12 global climate models, Damon Matthews, a professor in Concordia’s Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, along with post-doctoral researcher Martin Leduc, produced a map that shows how the climate changes in response to cumulative carbon emissions around the world.

They found that temperature increases in most parts of the world respond linearly to cumulative emissions.

“This provides a simple and powerful link between total global emissions of carbon dioxide and local climate warming,” says Matthews. “This approach can be used to show how much human emissions are to blame for local changes.”

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Living Architecture Tour of Toronto

If you’re in Toronto or visiting you can now go on a special tour of the city that will reveal all the cool living architecture! It’s a free tour that you can download and go on anytime you’d like.

Toronto abounds with green roofs and walls, but most people aren’t aware since living infrastructure is often hidden atop buildings or behind closed doors. This tour reveals our city’s vegetative roofs and walls.

Living architecture offers a cornucopia of benefits, which you can experience by looking, smelling, touching and listening. #LivingArchTOur helps Torontonians and visitors to our wonderful city experience these benefits for themselves.

Try the tour!

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