A New Look at an Old Place Wins Prestigious Japanese Award


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!

TreeCanada Maps Its Impact

TreeCanada has planted around 80 million trees! They do this because trees make the world a better, healthier place for everybody. They also plant trees to rejuvenate school yards (ones that got paved over at some point) and to bring back areas damaged by industrial uses to their . This past month they launched an interactive map of their plantings.

The map displays a satellite image of Canada with interactive buttons that allow you to explore its tree planting initiatives. By clicking on an icon, visitors can learn about the location and number of trees planted, as well as the program and sponsor associated with that project. Below the map, further details are available, including the species of the trees planted and the environmental benefit expected. The map is currently populated with trees planted in 2013, however, over time the map will grow to include planting sites from past and present years.

“At Tree Canada, we believe that investing in trees will benefit both human and environmental health,” Mr. Rosen said. “Trees help communities by providing shade, absorbing excess water, producing oxygen and providing habitat for wildlife. As our many sponsors can attest to, when you invest in trees, you invest in a legacy that will benefit communities for decades to come.”

See the map.
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Carbon Monitoring for Action

CARMA is an organization that monitors carbon produced by power plants around the world. They have an interactive map to visualize what parts of the world are the worst offenders, you can also see which companies are the worst polluters. It’s great to see a site that puts all of this information into one place for activists and researchers to access easily.

The objective of CARMA.org is to equip individuals with the information they need to forge a cleaner, low-carbon future. By providing complete information for both clean and dirty power producers, CARMA hopes to influence the opinions and decisions of consumers, investors, shareholders, managers, workers, activists, and policymakers. CARMA builds on experience with public information disclosure techniques that have proven successful in reducing traditional pollutants.

For several thousand power plants within the U.S., CARMA relies upon data reported to the Environmental Protection Agency by the plant operators themselves as required by the Clean Air Act. CARMA also includes many official emissions reports for plants in Canada, the European Union, and India. For non-reporting plants, CARMA estimates emissions using a statistical model that has been fitted to data for thousands of reporting plants in the U.S., Canada, the EU, and India. The model utilizes detailed data on plant-level engineering and fuel specifications. CARMA reports emissions for the year 2000, the current year, and the future (based on published plans).