Cosmas’s Map

I’ve been reading A Geography of Geography that I picked up for a quarter at our library’s book sale. Its a chronology of the discipline of geography throughout human history. Naturally, its quite concerned with the spacial aspect of things rather than merely the history.

One of the most enjoyable aspects has been a comparison of world maps throughout time and cultures. Its amazing how slowly maps progressed early on. The Greeks, or people living in Greek colonies slowly improved maps that were quite detailed. Maps that displayed Great Britain were available in 500BC! Yet, the middle ages, and in some cases, organized religion led to a somewhat warped perspective of the world. I recreated this map by Cosmas, who was determined that the world conformed to the descriptions given in the scriptures. I colorized it, and gave the people on the sides more detail, including races, because that’s the sort of thing that might piss the church off. I’m free to do that.

Oregon’s Fault(s)

I think a number of people were surprised by the earthquakes in the Portland area recently. I remember someone commenting on “a new fault” that was found running through Portland. I don’t think people really realize how many faults there are, and those who have even taken an introductory Geology class may only think of the biggies, like the Juan De Fuca plate.

Well, there are lots of faults. This ought to help you sleep better.

It may not be directly related, but if there is a big earthquake, you may want to know about the Tsunami Innundation Line. Do you still want that coast cabin?


I quit subscribing to Macworld Magazine a while ago because the billing company was evil, and the magazine just wasn’t as useful as I remember it being. Besides, I work in a library that gets it. I can look at it any time I want.

Well, today is the first time I’ve looked at it in months, and in the small ads in the back I found an awesome little app that is a fancy desktop background/solar clock/atlas. Earth Desk is awesome. Like a solar clock, it updates an image at a customizeable interval showing where on the map is day and night. And at night, you can still see the lights of cities. Now I know what its like outside without having to look.

Grass available

Grass 5, the open-source GIS software, is available for MacOS X. I’m tempted to try installing it again, but it requires installing a number of components, like a database server and x-windows clients. I went through the process last fall, but realized I didn’t know enough about Unix or databases to continue.

I know enough about Unix now, but still haven’t done any database stuff. I suppose reading is a good place to start, and some clever people have created an installer CD for OS X. And now there’s a book available, though its $119. Its still cheaper than buying a PC and ArcView GIS…maybe.

New Map

I’ve finished with the Lunchtime Disc Golf Course map I started last week. Well, I’m still in final_draft v.1 phase, but its getting close. Take a look. Its also available in PDF. Fletcher finished a game 5 under par on his first try at the course.

Bridgeport has a Hop Harvest ale that’s casked with fresh hops. Amazingly, its only 11 IBUs, but its delicious. If you’re in town, give it a try.

Master of Geography

Somewhere between the lady who was printing all of her class work and the guy with Windows XP that wouldn’t let him into classes, I realized that I need to go to graduate school. Over the weekend I ran into an old instructor who I admire for his lifelong dedication to his interests in geography. He’s one of the many instructors I had who really seemed to know what they wanted, and did a damn fine job of achieving it.

I started looking at Portland State, because they have graduate programs in both Geography and Planning. Now I just have to decide what it is I want. I thought I wanted to do planning, but being a master of geography would be better than being a MURP. Anyway, I’ll have time to think about it between reading new Microsoft EULA and changing users’ Zone Alarm & Pop-up blocking settings.

Regarding DeLorme’s StreeMap decision

Delorme, maker of fine paper and electronic atlases, is discontinuing development for Mac products. Here’s my response:

I’ve read your announcement regarding the discontinuation of support for Mac Products. I’m quite upset, because I’ve been a DeLorme customer for years, and have purchased copies of Street Atlas 3 and 6 for Mac.

I want to thank you for these products, but also share my disappointment in the discontinuation of Mac development. It seems that it would be better long range planning to create software that was in a format that was platform independent, rather than continue with the current model of develop once, then redevelop for different OSes. A platform independent standard would allow for the use of the same material on Macs, PCs, other OSes, and the Web with little or no customization.

As an example, the US Census data used in the 2003 version of Street Atlas, is available in a platform-independent format. I understand that to protect the investment of time and creativity, that you must make some changes to the format. However, I will be somewhat jealous of my PC using counterparts for this reason only. Thank you for your time, and I hope you’ll consider us Mac users in the future.

Andy Freed