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Of (the Tartars) manners both good and bad (around 400 years ago)
|| 4/19/2008 || 3:26 pm || Comments Off on Of (the Tartars) manners both good and bad (around 400 years ago) || ||

1732 Map of Great Tartary by Herman Moll
Obtained from the David Rumsey Map Collection

Today’s entry follows up my successful layout of Ovid’s Remedia Amoris / The Cure for Love and employs the same side by side Latin / English text. Below you will find Chapter 5 of Richard Hakluyt’s The Principal Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoueries of the English Nation – Volume 2 published 1598-1600 in London, England.

Richard Hakluyt was an English author, editor, translator, and personal chaplain to Sir Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, principal Secretary of State to Elizabeth I and James I. A great history of his life and works can be found in his Wikipedia entry. Most notably, he was one of the biggest advocates for English colonization of Virginia. Some of his other exploration-related works include the Discovery of Muscovy, Voyagers Tales, Voyages in Searth of the North-West Passage, and numerous similar volumes related to The Principal Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoueries of the English Nation (Project Gutenberg lists a total of 12 volumes altogether).

In the chapter below he describes the manners of the people of Tartary. This antiquated geographic name was used by Europeans from the Middle Ages until the twentieth century to designate the great tract of northern and central Asia stretching from the Caspian Sea and the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean (see map above). Inhabited by Turkic and Mongol peoples of the Mongol Empire who were generically referred to as “Tartars”, the present day geography includes the current areas of Siberia, Turkestan (including East Turkestan), Greater Mongolia, and parts China. In many ways the book reminds me of how an antiquarian National Geographic article might have read. The aim of this book, and many of his other works, was to consolidate what others had written about different regions around the known world and in doing so help spread the diffusion of geographic & ethnographic knowledge.

Lastly, in regards to the transcription below, I did not modify the original Project Gutenberg text, so when reading please note that there are some typographic differences in the old English and contemporary English. Remember to change the lowercase V to a lowercase U and in some cases, change the I’s to J’s. I did consider updating the text to modern English, but in some ways I feel that it would be better to keep the text in it’s originally transcribed format. Unlike Ovid’s Remedia Amoris / The Cure for Love, I did not include the line numbers because they were not given in the original text. I did, however, separate the text into easy to read paragraphs. If you are reading this entry via Google Reader, the chapter can be better read by hiding the sidebar that shows your subscriptions by clicking the small arrow on the left separator or by pressing “u” on your keyboard to switch to wide screen.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did:

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Boston Common Quilt #2
|| 4/18/2008 || 1:29 pm || Comments Off on Boston Common Quilt #2 || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Boston Commons Quilt #2

Using this portion of yesterday’s map, I constructed this derivative Diamond Quilt Projection map of the area around Boston Common and the Massachusetts State House.

View the Google Map of Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts.

: detail of the Parkman Bandstand :

View the rest of the details:

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Boston Common Quilt
|| 4/17/2008 || 6:59 pm || Comments Off on Boston Common Quilt || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Boston Commons Quilt

I’ve had a couple geographers contact me asking if I was attending the AAG’s annual meeting in Boston. My answer has been that I’m too busy on various projects to attend. As a former employee and someone who helped facilitate two annual meetings (Denver & Chicago), I realized that the next meeting I plan on attending will be as either an exhibitor or if the trip is paid for by an employer. I would like to give another presentation again or organize a panel discussion, but, as with most things in life, I’m in no hurry.

Since I have not made any maps of downtown Boston since August of 2005, I decided to download the city, in lieu of going to the city. Pleasantly, I was able to download the city at two different spatial scales and from two different years: 2004 & 2005. So far the imagery looks a lot better than the patchwork design that was previously placed into the public domain. Eight different tessellations later, the entire downtown area will be remapped in the next week. Today’s map features the area around Boston Common, which is the oldest public park in America (created in 1634), and the Massachusetts State House. I chose an Octagon Quilt Projection because I liked the way the center creates a compass rose. Up next will be a derivative of today’s map.

View the Google Map of Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts.

View the rest of the details:

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Libertarians make a misguided political statement at the Jefferson Memorial
|| || 4:50 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

I’ve been reading some of the coverage about a group of DC Libertarians who tried to stage a flash mob at the Jefferson Memorial last weekend.

The plan was simple: show up at the Jefferson Memorial at a set time and dance with their iPods for 10 minutes to celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday and leave. But all did not go as planned:

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Rush hour bicycle traffic congestion in Copenhagen, Denmark
|| 4/16/2008 || 4:34 pm || Comments Off on Rush hour bicycle traffic congestion in Copenhagen, Denmark || ||

The last couple days I’ve been posting about bicycling, so why not add another one of my favorite examples of how people in another country have embraced bicycling? Everyday I check out Copenhagen Cycling Chic, which is a blog about styliciousness of bicyclists in Copenhagen, Denmark. More specifically, the blog usually features well-dressed, attractive women on bicycles. As xenophile, I love seeing how the people commute and how drastically different it is from the American way of life. It seems that the majority of bicycles for sale at my local bike shops are racing bikes, mountain bikes, and single track bikes. Thus it appears that the stores mainly cater to the athletic folks who treat bicycling as a physical activity (or business: couriers), and not a simplified, slowed-down, lifestyle as the author of Copenhagen Cycling Chic and myself view bicycling. I have not owned a car in nearly 10 years and I don’t miss being car-crippled one bit. The money I’ve saved in car payments & car insurance is astounding and I’m healthier because my transportation is also my exercise. Yet this is the difference– I view the exercise as a lesser byproduct of a conscious decision to live a more mentally & ecologically sound life. I’ll pick the rush hour in the YouTube video above any day over sitting in traffic enclosed in a metal box pumping toxins into the atmosphere. Better views too.



Streetfilms: Ciclovia in Bogota, Colombia
|| 4/15/2008 || 8:55 am || Comments Off on Streetfilms: Ciclovia in Bogota, Colombia || ||

Continuing on the topic yesterday’s post about how my neighborhood used to be a bike track, I figured that I should follow-up the entry with something bicycle related. I saw this video a few months ago and even sent it to my old Urban Geography Professor. The 7 minute video is about Ciclovia in Bogota, Colombia, which is a a weekly event in which over 70 miles of city streets are closed to traffic. As you can see in the video, residents come out to walk, bike, run, skate, recreate, picnic, do aerobics, and basically enjoy the city safely and pollution-free.

I found the video to be very inspirational. In the back of my mind, I began constructing the theoretical Ciclovia map of Washington, DC. What roads would be closed? Would people take part en masse? Or would it be relegated to some corporate sponsored yearly event like Bike to Work Day?

Frankly, I don’t know, but I think it would be fun to start small. DC currently has miles 17 miles of bike lanes, and I don’t think people would give up their coveted on-street parking in favor of bicyclists, so most streets can’t be closed off. However, there are some streets that could be (and sometimes are) made one-way (P Street) and there are some wide streets that could be partially closed (15th Street). In this respect, DC could do a Cyclovia and it wouldn’t require that much work.

But what about participation? If you delineate it, will they ride on it? That being, if there was to be a Cycloviva, would there be enough people riding their bikes to justify the road closures? Frankly, I don’t think there would be enough sustained interest if it were a weekly event– not enough bicyclists in DC. Instead I think it would work better as a seasonal event. Cyclovia Spring, Cyclovia Summer, etc. and over time there might be a critical mass.

Related Bicycle Entires:

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Then & Now Birds-Eye Views of the Westminster Neighborhood in Washington, DC [1884 & 2005]
|| 4/14/2008 || 12:42 pm || Comments Off on Then & Now Birds-Eye Views of the Westminster Neighborhood in Washington, DC [1884 & 2005] || ||

Detail the bicycle track before Westminster Street was created
from Adolph Sachse’s birds-eye view of the nation’s capital, 1884

Due to file format issues, only recently have I been able to open most of the maps available in the Library of Congress’ American Memory Collection. Last night I found an interesting birds-eye view map of Washington, DC by Adolph Sachse that was published in 1884. Its a massive map that appears to be composed of six separate sheets and contains a listing of many of the businesses in Washington City as well as locations of various public & government buildings. In many ways the map acts like a geovisual address book (the phone had not been invented yet) because, at a glance, one can easily find services offered by local merchants. Judging by the branding in the upper right hand corner of the original map, it appears that the map was sponsored by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, a major railroad company of the day.

According to my neighborhood’s official history, Westminster Street did not exist in 1884 and the birds-eye view above supports this claim. While not labeled in the image above, Parcel 362, as it was known on the original DC maps, was called also called “the old circus ground” and Athletic Park. It had a 150-foot long grand stand along T Street, which was built in 1883 (building permit number 1047) in preparation for the fifth national convention of the League of American Wheelmen, a national organization of bicyclists. The first American bicyclist to ever ride 100 miles on an outdoor track did it on that track in 1884. As someone who uses a bicycle as their primary means of urban transportation, I can only smile knowing that 121 years ago my residence was an outdoor bicycle race track. However, I laugh because I traveled with an exgirlfriend’s family circus when I was younger!

Below is a birds-eye view of the Westminster Neighborhood published by Microsoft, with imagery of Pictometry International. It features imagery that was taken in 2005 and when compared, you can see how much the area has changed in the last 121 years. The Athetic Park is gone and in it’s place are dozens of rowhouses that were built shortly after the map above was published. A unique and historically aware addition to the neighborhood is something you can see below in the playground on Westminster Street. No, it’s not because that is where I had my exhibit “North, South, East, Westminster“. Rather, if you look closely, you can see a small race track! A scaled reminder of what once was.

Detail of the Westminster Neighborhood by Microsoft, with imagery of Pictometry International



Related Bicycle Entries:

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YouTube Doubler [Scratch Slavery Revisited]
|| 4/13/2008 || 3:32 pm || Comments Off on YouTube Doubler [Scratch Slavery Revisited] || ||

YouTube Doubler

Links to my first YouTube mashup “Scratch Slavery.”

This weekend I found Brian Kane’s YouTube Doubler and smiled. In August of last year I coded a proto-version of YouTube Doubler to create my first YouTube mashup “Scratch Slavery.” The mashup juxtaposed Rory Mayberry, a former subcontractor employee for First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting Company, giving testimony at the Oversight Committee’s hearing on “Allegations of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse at the New U.S. Embassy in Iraq,” with a simple beat track by DJ Loomy showing the Vestax Controller One turntable.

What I would like to see next is YouTube Wall. In November of last year, I was able to place four YouTube videos together to create a YouTube Quadrupler. I think it would be interesting to scale down the size of the YouTube videos and create video tiling where the different video screens make a design. It would also be interesting to use multiple scales to create border of videos with a large video in the center. A random YouTube selector (a la Lost Series) would be a lot of fun because of the vast of amount of videos that could be chosen.



Geovisual QR Code
|| 4/12/2008 || 5:42 pm || Comments Off on Geovisual QR Code || ||

: saved at 6,000 x 6,000 :
Geovisual QR Code by Nikolas Schiller

QR Code is a two-dimensional bar code created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The “QR” is stands for “Quick Response,” and it operates very similar to traditional bar codes, but allows for more customization. QR Codes are common in Japan where they are currently the most popular type of two dimensional code. In recent weeks I’ve read about some very interesting uses of the code and decided to make something with it.

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GPS Drawing in the new Mercedes advertisement
|| 4/11/2008 || 7:41 pm || Comments Off on GPS Drawing in the new Mercedes advertisement || ||

GPS Drawing

GPS Drawing was created by Hugh Pryor and Jeremy Wood. This artform involves the use of a GPS device to record people’s movements on the surface of the earth. It works on the premise that as one moves through their day, the GPS device continuously records (or tracks) the exact coordinates of the owner. Here it has been copied by Mercedes in their newest advertisements related to their line of cars with built-in GPS devices.

Now say “Ahhhhh” — huh? At first I didn’t get the correlation between the GPS drawing and the location. The GPS drawing shown above appears to be teeth with a starting point of Paris and terminal point at Cordes sur Siel. Upon further inquiry, I found that Cordes sur Siel is home to the Musee de l’Art du Sucre. Yum!





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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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