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A new change in Washington, DC’s imagery on Google’s servers
|| 7/10/2007 || 9:42 am || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

For the last 3 years I have followed how the aerial & satellite imagery of Washington, DC has been released, redacted, and remixed. This entry marks another important observation and a new discovery in Google Maps.

Last week I discovered the extent to which Google has updated their servers with the 2005 USGS aerial photography. My findings suggest that Google has censored much of downtown Washington, DC by not using a substanial amount of newer imagery.

Continue reading:

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An Updated Astrological Calendar from 1544 – Western Hemisphere
|| 7/8/2007 || 12:40 pm || Comments Off on An Updated Astrological Calendar from 1544 – Western Hemisphere || ||

An Updated Astrological Calendar from 1544 - Western Hemisphere

This morning I was looking through the digital collection of maps at the Geography & Mapping Division of the Library of Congress and found this astrological calendar on the 4th page of a Battista Agnese atlas published in 1544 (citation after the fold).

The calendar is built on two concentric circles; the inner circle depicts the Gregorian calendar and the outer circle shows the Zodiac calendar. According to the Wikipedia entry, the Gregorian calendar was not adopted for another 38 years after the atlas was published.

In the original drawing (below) the center of the astrological calendar was a very tiny earth. I believe it was drawn to show the earth’s celestial relationship to the seasons, and while the scale is off, the coloring is surprisingly accurate. By adding the satellite image over top of the original I gave it an update 463 years in the making.

View the Interactive & Original version:

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America as a Cloverleaf
|| 6/18/2007 || 8:09 pm || Comments Off on America as a Cloverleaf || ||

America as a Cloverleaf by Nikolas Schiller

View the original, interactive version, and legend:

This historic map mashup is courtesy of Heinrich Bunting (1545-1606) by way of the Yale University Map Library.

Originally the three cloverleaves were of Africa (South/Middle) , Europe (West/Left), and Asia (East/Right) and at the center was Jerusalem. You can read more about this map at the website Strange Maps.

My rendition is San Francisco’s Financial District (West/Left), the Saint Louis Arch (South), and Lower Manhattan (East/Right) and at the center is the rowhouse in Washington, DC where I reside at.

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A New Map of the Terraqueous Globe : according to the the Ancient discoveries and most general Divisions of Geospatial Art
|| 5/29/2007 || 1:52 pm || Comments Off on A New Map of the Terraqueous Globe : according to the the Ancient discoveries and most general Divisions of Geospatial Art || ||

A New Map of the Terraqueous Globe : according to the the Ancient discoveries and most general Divisions of Geospatial Art by Nikolas Schiller

Worked on this “New Map” nearly all Memorial Day… took 12 hours to complete!
It’s a 269 year enrichment, errr, a cartographic memorial? Continue reading:

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Darfur was on the map in 1858…
|| 5/17/2007 || 11:09 am || Comments Off on Darfur was on the map in 1858… || ||

but its not on the map today. I wonder if Americans would care more about the people of Darfur if it wasn’t just a region in Sudan?

Image links to high resolution version from the Perry-Castañeda Library
Map Collection
at the University of Texas Library via the Michigan State University Library.



Quadrant Map of DC – Translated into Latin – “Novus Columbus Quadrans”
|| 5/14/2007 || 9:20 am || Comments Off on Quadrant Map of DC – Translated into Latin – “Novus Columbus Quadrans” || ||

Quadrant Map of DC - Translated into Latin - Novus Columbus Quadrans

Legend:
+ New Columbia – Novus Columbus
+ North West – Septentrio Occidens
+ North East – Septentrio Oriens
+ South West – Merides Occidens
+ South East – Merides Oriens
+ Anno Domino MMVII – Year of Our Lord 2007
+ Signature written in Arabic


This is my first draft of this map. I’ll probably make another with a different color scheme. I feel that there is a lot to be added to this map, but not sure where to start. It’s my first time using Latin as a main focus of a map. I got the idea after looking through the old maps yesterday that it would be funny to label the quadrants of DC in Latin (and future maps with historic samplings). Being that some feel Washington is the modern day Rome, I felt this lexical motif works well. It’s partly educational, partly humorous, and it crosses a few lingusitic barriers that I’ve never approached. Moreover, I am well aware that the water in the area of DC I live in has lead in the water, just like the Romans!

The choice of New Columbia as the title is a reference to the name that DC residents chose to-be for the state of the District of Columbia. I’ve honestly never liked the name “New Columbia” for the state’s name, it’s too old. There is nothing New about naming another state New. Plus, as for abbreviations, NC is already used by North Carolina! So after DC becomes a state, would it be called New Columbia in name but still go by DC or Washington? Or all three?



What a difference a year (and an internationally syndicated story) makes!
|| 4/3/2007 || 2:20 pm || Comments Off on What a difference a year (and an internationally syndicated story) makes! || ||

Over a half million hits last month! Check the stats for the month of March 2006 & 2005 after the fold…

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Map proves Portuguese discovered Australia
|| 3/23/2007 || 5:39 pm || Comments Off on Map proves Portuguese discovered Australia || ||

If Trickett is right, Mendonca’s map shows he sailed past Fraser Island off Australia’s northeast coast, into Botany Bay in Sydney, and south to Kangaroo Island off southern Australia, before returning to Malacca via New Zealand’s north island.

Mendonca’s discovery was kept secret to prevent other European powers reaching the new land, said Trickett, who believes his theory is supported by discoveries of 16th century Portuguese artifacts on the Australian and New Zealand coasts.

Read the rest of the Reuters report here.



Hic sunt dracones!
|| 3/21/2007 || 9:49 am || Comments Off on Hic sunt dracones! || ||

I’ve had a few friends and strangers comment that they loved the story, but they didn’t understand what the name “Here be dragons” meant. Unless you know a little bit about cartographic history, it could mean a lot of things….

This morning I found a good explaination from the MapHist website:

How and when did the notion that old maps commonly bore the phrase “here be dragons” become established in popular belief? Did a Shakespeare or a Byron put it into circulation? It must at least pre-date the publication of Dorothy L. Sayers’ short story “The Learned Adventure of the Dragon’s Head” in Lord Peter Views the Body (London: Gollancz, 1928), in which a character refers to having seen “hic dracones” on an old map [spotted by both Andrew S. Cook and Benjamin Darius Weiss]. Does it pre-date the publication of the text of the LenoxGlobe in 1879? Why dragons, and not one of the other terrifying creatures depicted on old maps? We don’t know.

According to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, “The animal called a dragon is a winged crocodile with a serpent’s tail; whence the words serpent and dragon are sometimes interchangeable.” Furthermore, says Brewer, the word “dragon” was used “by ecclesiastics of the Middle Ages as the symbol of sin in general and paganism in particular. The metaphor is derived from Rev. xii. 9, where Satan is termed ‘the great dragon’.” In this sense, a picture of a dragon on an old map is analogous to a modern map which shows Commonwealth countries in pink, not to a vignette of the Official State Bird, or the notation “unsurveyed area”. As M. Hoogvliet pointed out to MapHist, “The dragon (draco) is a sub-species of the serpents (cf. Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae XII,4,4: “Draco maior cunctorum serpentium …”); most medieval maps have serpents in southern Africa (i.e. southernmost part of habitable world), which derives from Classical Roman authors, e.g. Pliny the Elder and Soninus.”

Read the rest here. Or to summarize, “Here Be Dragons” / “Hic sunt dracones” was placed at the edges of maps showing the edge of the known world. However, I am told there aren’t any maps that actually use the exact text and I have not seen a map with that text on it.



Ball of Destruction
|| 9/29/2005 || 9:00 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 12,000 X 8,000 :
Ball of Destruction by Nikolas Schiller
Ball of Destruction

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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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  • thank you,
    come again!