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. Mapping the World
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If: A Mind-Bending New Way of 
Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers
David J. Smith
A Mind-Bending New Way
Of Looking at Big
Ideas and Numbers

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This Child, Every Child: A 
Book for Children About the Rights of Children
This Child Every Child
David J. Smith
A Picture Book About
The Rights of Children
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If the World Were a Village SECOND EDITION
If the World Were a Village

David J. Smith

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If America Were a Village
If America Were a Village
David J. Smith
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Click here to see all the hotlinks from Previous Years:

2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - 1999 - 1998 - 1997 - 1996

Note: links (over 500) are not maintained and may not work.

Hotlinks For 2009 By Date

4 to 11 January, 2009

Science On a Sphere

An amazing resource from NOAA. From the website: "Science On a Sphere? is a large visualization system that uses computers and video projectors to display animated data onto the outside of a sphere. Said another way, SOS is an animated globe that can show dynamic, animated images of the atmosphere, oceans, and land of a planet. NOAA primarily uses SOS as an education and outreach tool to describe the environmental processes of Earth."

11 to 18 January, 2009

Maps in Movies and TV

A project at the University of Bologna, has also developed this fascinating YouTube initiative of maps in Movies and on TV. Besides Casablanca, movies include three Harry Potters, Mission Impossible, and Raiders of the Lost Ark and more. Great fun.

18 to 25 January, 2009

World Water Map

UNESCO's "WHYMAP", World-wide Hydrogeological Mapping and Assessment Programme, recently released its map entitled "Groundwater Resources of the World". As UNESCO explains: "Due to water shortage problems on local, regional and even global levels, the interest in groundwater has increased considerably during the past decades. In order to support the sustainable management of groundwater resources, it is necessary to map, model and quantify the stored volume and average annual replenishment of groundwater, while determining its chemical quality."

25 January to 1 February, 2009

World Health Map

This a a very useful reference site for worldwide diseases and disease threats. Using feeds from all sorts of public information sources, this creates a worldwide google map showing all the locations with disease threats, and a click on any of the flags gives you details on the particular diseases and threats. As with any google map mashup, navigation, zooming, etc., are easy and intuitive.

1 to 8 February, 2009

Tiny Geo-Coder

Enter a location -- a town or city, or an airport code, and hit 'submit' and you get the latitude and longitude of the location, plus a static map (which also helps make sure that the geo-coding is for the place you intended). Powerful and fun, friendly, and possibly very useful.

8 to 15 February, 2009

World Bank Accessibility Map

This map, from the European Commission and the World Bank, tries to give a graphic representation of how closely linked formerly remote parts of the world have become. Different colors represent travel time from any given point in the world to the nearest city of 50,000 or more. It turns out that only 10% of the land area of the Earth is remote enough so that more than 48 hours is required to get to the nearest city. Fascinating. Downloadable.

15 to 22 February, 2009

Map of the US States With Their Mottos

A wonderful visit to the 50 United States' state mottos. The artist, Emily Wick, specializes in linoleum prints, and the link here leads you to a series of pages of these prints -- first, the entire US, then, by clicking next, each of the 50 states in alphabetical order. Explore the site a little, too.

22 February to 1 March, 2009

Statistical Abstract of the United States

The Statistical Abstract of the United States is the authoritative compendium of demographic data, the "national data book", created and supported by the U.S. Census Bureau. This site allows searches, and also provides links to "tables of interest". Well worth a visit and a bookmark.

1 to 8 March, 2009

WHO Programmes and Projects Pages

The World Health Organization provides hundreds of programs and projects around the world related to specific health issues, travel, and more. This page allows the user to review these programs quickly and easily.

8 to 15 March, 2009

London 2012 Interactive Olympics Map

The 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver are still a year away, but even so, the organizers of London's 2012 Summer Games have put their interactive map online. There are all sorts of ways to explore, to read news, follow a blog, read about venues, look at photos and slideshows. Vancouver's website is also comprehensive and interesting. There are many subcategories and lots of information. You can check it out here.

15 to 22 March, 2009

Gallup Organization State-of-the-States Series

An interactive and useful look at comparisons between US states based on 4 factors -- political party affiliation, religiosity, consumer confidence, and job-market conditions. Briefly: Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia are most Democratic, 65% of Americans say religion is an important part of their daily lives, and most Americans have little confidence in the present economy. But explore and compare and see how much there is to learn based on only these four factors.

22 to 29 March, 2009

NASA Image of the Day -- Las Vegas Growth

NASA's Earth Observatory has a wonderful series called Earth Image of the Day. This particular page shows 6 images of Las Vegas, presenting 25 years of phenomenal growth. But use this page as a portal into the rest of the Earth Observatory site -- you can browse by topic, by date, or just follow links to "next image" or "previous image" and immerse yourself in this mind-boggling collection.

29 March to 5 April , 2009

Scale Model Cities

On this very interesting blog, the creator, known as Tinselman, has -- among other things -- put together an archive of scale models of cities around the world. There are 20 images here, and links to more. As he says "nothing can be more impressive that a gigantic city, rendered in miniature form. This is why I have gone to incalculable trouble seeking out these scaled down wonders and bringing them together in this handy archive. For your tinselistic enjoyment!"

5 to 12 April , 2009

Mapping Mars

The Planetary Society (motto: "making you a part of the next age of exploration") has assembled the Mars maps of Planetary Cartographer Phil Stooke. As the blogger, Emily Ladkawalla, says, "a lot of this work on (can be found on) but I wanted to highlight it here because it is really exceptionally cool to see how Mars came more sharply into focus with each orbital mission." Worth a visit and a serious browse around the site.

12 to 19 April, 2009

The Pros and Cons of Google Maps

From the Online version of the German magazine Der Spiegel, this article on "How Google Maps Can Save -- and Disrupt -- Lives". Google Maps, they point out, and particularly Google Map Mshups, can be used to protect people from disasters, and can be exploited for all kinds of political ends. I like the examples, and the presentation seems quite thoughtful and rational.

19 to 26 April, 2009

Who's Buying What

Good Magazine has been using data from Euromonitor International, and other sources, to put together a series of "State of the Earth" maps; this one is "Who Is Buying What", and links the top 10 and bottom 10 countries, by expenditures on clothing, household goods, alcohol and tobacco, recreation, and electronics. Go to their "State of the Earth" blog, and explore other maps, such as "Who's Learning What".

26 April to 3 May, 2009

USGS Geography Blog

The USGS maintains this blog to showcase the highlights of their work -- remote sensing, landform changes, connections between the land and the people who live on it, and "relevant science information to inform public decisions". A fascinating page to visit, or sign up for a feed so you can read postings as they come to you.

3 to 10 May, 2009

BBC News Country Profiles

As part of their World News website, the BBC provides these country profiles -- history, politics, and economic background for countries and territories, plus background on key institutions. Also included: audio and video from BBC.

10 to 17 May, 2009

NY Times Immigration Explorer

On this amazingly revealing interactive map, you can select a foreign-born group or "all countries" and see how the chosen group settled across the US during the last 13 census years. Once you selected a year and group, mousing over any county gives you the name of the county, and the population -- foreign-born and total -- for the selected year.

17 to 24 May, 2009

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive

Just a list of stunning and amazing pictures, with links. These are all the pictures that have been NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Day, all the way back to June 16, 1995, 14 YEARS of imagery. Everything of any kind of astronomical interest is here, from "Possible Mud Volcanoes on Mars" to "Galaxy Group Hickson 44". Visit and be surprised and fascinated.

24 to 31 May, 2009

Unfolding the Earth

"How can we unfold the Earth", says the creator of this short film Jack Van Wijk. He explains "making a map of the Earth is a classic problem. Here a new method is show: divide the surface of the globe in many triangles and unfold it. Ten variations are shown."

31 May to 7 June, 2009

Adversity Index

The Adversity Index, produced by msnbc and Moody's, measures the economic health of 381 metro areas and all 50 states. Each area is shown as either in recession, at risk, recovering, or expanding. Explore changes across time. Roll over a state to see its particular numbers. Click on a state to see details for its metro areas. Play it as streaming info from 1995 to the present, or select any particular month or year. Fascinating.

7 to 14 June, 2009

National Geo Awards in Mapping

National Geographic sponsors several different award programs. The AAG/NGS National Geographic Awards in Mapping were recently announced, and are worth a look. These include a map showing Europe's tallest buildings, a map of small-airline air service in rural Canada, and an interactive map of Accra, Ghana. Other awards and other maps are also shown on this page.

14 to 21 June, 2009

Geography Quizzes

A fascinating collection of challenging and imaginative geography quizzes and puzzles. These range from "how many world countries can you type the names of in 5 minutes (that's 300 seconds to type 195 countries!), to "Fill in the map" quizzes, to "Guess the city whose skyline is shown". If you go back to "categories", there is a wide selection of other quizzes. Worth a visit.

21 to 28 June, 2009

Natural Resources Canada

Natural Resources Canada has a database called MIRAGE (improbably, the acronym stands for "Map Image Rendering dAtabase for GEoscience"). On the site, there is a new collection of maps and data about the Arctic. It can be viewed and navigated online in different sizes, and can also be downloaded. Their top page allows access to different tools and many different maps.

28 June to 5 July, 2009

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Online

The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN) is referred to as a "vocabulary"; it is a resource presently containing over 1,100,000 records of names; names may include English, other languages, historical names, and more. Each record is a place. A quick search for information can be dizzying -- a unique place (such as "North Vancouver") yields one hit, with lat/long coordinates, type of place, and links to at least one source of further information. But a name that is common may have complicated results: a search for Fairview yields 380 results. Fun to explore and a useful tool.

5 to 12 July, 2009

ESA Map Reveals European Shipping Routes

These new maps, recently released by the European Space Agency, map satellite tracking of shipping routes around the European coast. This page has enormous detail about the maps themselves and what they show, and links to more detailed maps and descriptions. Also worth exploring are the other pages that are linked from this ESA "Observing the Earth" page.

12 to 19 July, 2009

NASA Earth Observatory World of Change

The NASA Earth Observatory team has created a page of images showing the changes in the Earth over the last decade. Here you will find "before" and "after" pictures of changes in the global biosphere, the Antarctic ozone hole, deforestation along the Amazon, sea ice in the Antarctic and the Arctic, the breathtaking evaporation of the Aral Sea, and much more.

19 to 26 July, 2009

The Great Circle Mapper

A simple idea, but an incredibly complex database in the background. Put in any two world airports according to their 3-letter FAA or IATA code, separate them with a hyphen, and hit "Display Map" and you see not only a world map showing the great circle route between the two points, but also the lat/long for both locations, the initial heading for the trip, and the distance. Under the map, click on any "location" and read all kinds of details about the airport. Note that you can put in a long multi-let trip, even round-the-world: try, for example, a route like SFO-JFK-LHR-SVO-NRT-HNL-SFO (San Francisco, New York Kennedy, London Heathrow, Moscow Sheremetyevo, Tokyo Narita, Honolulu International, and back to San Francisco).

26 July to 2 August, 2009

ASTER World Map

On June 29, NASA and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry released a new world map. The map is a compilation of 1.3 million ASTER optical images, and shows absolutely stunning detail of the Earth's surface. This page, at the JPL/NASA site, includes 3 close-up views.

2 to 9 August, 2009

Harvard-Sponsored Expeditions and Discoveries

Maps, photographs, and published materials from Harvard-sponsored expeditions from the 19th and 20th centuries, as they are reflected in the holdings of the museums, archives, and libraries of Harvard University. Material can be searched by discipline or region or people.

9 to 16 August, 2009

Daniel Dalet's Outline Maps Archive

Daniel Dalet, of Digne, France, in Haut-Provence, has posted thousands of outline maps in a variety of formats at his site called d-maps. There are presently 4000 maps, each in 6 different formats -- GIF, PDF, CDR, SVG, AI, and WMF. They are free, and can be reproduced, even commercially, with only a few conditions. This is a splendid resource.

16 to 23 August, 2009

Subway Maps

Amadeus and UrbanRail have combined to bring this site to the web -- Subway Maps of the world. At present, there are 141 maps, showing the subway systems of 70 European cities, 33 in the Americas, 2 each in Australia and Africa, and 34 in Asia. Each one can be opened in Word or Acrobat, or you can click on other icons to see images from the different systems or to read about the city.

23 to 30 August, 2009

i-Hacked Interesting Google Maps

Dozens of sites archive funny or interesting or weird google map locations; this is one that I enjoy browsing. To see more such sites, search google maps for "interesting google maps" by clicking here.

30 August to 6 September, 2009

A Compendium of Beautiful Libraries

A collection of photos of some of the most astonishingly beautiful libraries in the world. "Shocked into a library induced euphoria, Curious Expeditions has attempted to gather together the world's most beautiful libraries... We hope you enjoy them as much as we do." The Curious Expeditions site gives as it's slogan "travelling and exhuming the extraordinary past", and is definitely worth a long and thoughtful browse.

6 to 13 September, 2009

Great Circle Mapper

Specify a couple of locations using airport codes or lat/long, and the website returns the distance, direction, and all kinds of other information. You can put in several codes at once to see just how many miles that round-the-world flight will earn you. Amazing source of information about navigation and flight planning.

13 to 20 September, 2009

Who's Your City by Richard Florida

Richard Florida doesn't believe in telecommuting as a replacement for the hard decision about where to live; he believes that place is "not only important, but more important than ever". As he puts it, "the world isn't flat, it's spiky... place exerts powerful influence over our jobs and careers, and our ability to lead happy and fulfilled lives." This site has 24 maps to help the decision about where to live -- where singles are, where creative people can be found, where income is highest, etc. Several of the maps include Canadian cities and people.

20 to 27 September, 2009

The Wall Street Journal Interactive Unemployment Map

An informative little interactive map, with US unemployment rates, state-by-state, from December of 2007 to the latest month for which data is available. Users can also compare up to 5 individual states on a graph.

27 September to 4 October, 2009

Directory of International Rapid Transit

Christian Lampel in Vienna maintains this collection of links to metropolitan subway systems and to other collections of links; there are some very useful resources here, and it continues to grow.

4 to 11 October, 2009

Google Public Transit Page

Last week's link to transit sites led me this week to Google Transit, a collection of transit information for more than 426 cities. I've tried hard to fool it, but it has found all the details of complicated trips in cities I happen to know my way around, including new light-rail lines (such as Vancouver's Canada Line which only started running 2 weeks ago). A very powerful tool.

11 to 18 October, 2009

State Online Atlases

The Western Illinois University Library system has this very interesting page of links to online atlases for each state. They are not all just atlases of modern or old maps, and they are very different one from another -- interactive sites, map viewers and map servers with various data layers, and also online version of print atlases. Well worth bookmarking.

18 to 25 October, 2009

A Very Old and Odd Book of Geographical Fun

This collection of pages from the US Library of Congress's website presents a book from their collection, entitled "Geographical Fun: Being humourous outlines of various countries..." This is a collection of 150-year-old caricatures of European countries, and very strange they are, indeed. Each country features one or more characters and a bit of doggerel -- "uncompromising friend of liberty Thy photograph ennobles Italy", for example. Worth exploring as historical artifacts; these go way beyond "Italy looks like a boot". Strange Maps, The Book

Strange Maps is a marvelous blog, full of -- what else -- strange maps. The link above will take you to the page at Amazon that presents the book that has been created from this amazing blog.

1 to 8 November, 2009


"Van Map is a web-based map-system that lets you have Vancouver at your fingertips". Fun to play with, and very helpful in understanding the city's structure. The layers available are extensive, and the map functions well. Maps like this are becoming more available for many towns and cities; this is a very good example of how such maps can function. The only hiccup is browser compatibility, which given the map's dependence on java and activeX control, is understandable.

8 to 15 November, 2009


Worldmapper is a collection of cartograms -- world maps where areas or continents or countries are re-sized according to the particular subject of interest, such as population, movement, food, housing, and lots more. There are about 700 maps at the present time, with several animations.

15 to 22 November, 2009

World Names

A few months ago, a UK company launched their "Worldnames Mapping Service". The goal: help people find the origins of their names, and how far it has spread around the world. Fascinating, but imperfect. (example: My grandfather came from Lithuania, but when I put in his surname, there were none shown for Lithuania.) Still, fun to play with, both for the family history and for the geography lessons involved.

22 to 29 November, 2009

Bible Map

A Googlemaps mashup with a simple concept, and very interesting results. Select a book of the bible, and a chapter, and get a map of the region where that chapter occurs. You also get the text of the chapter, and you can select to read it in either the King James or English Standard Version. For each map, pointers show you specific locations, and a click on the pointer presents a little bit about that particular place.

29 November to 6 December, 2009

Funny Place Names

Squidoo is a "publishing platform" that provides a place for people to create pages with everything they know about a topic. This page, Funny Place Names, is a chance to review all those weird and sometimes slightly rude names that make some towns really distinctive. There are actually four towns called Podunk in the US; the town of Quidhampton in Wiltshire means "home of people famous for their cattle's dung", and there really is a place called Loveladies, in New Jersey. Warning: Entertaining, but some of these are a little r-rated.

6 to 13 December, 2009

Breathing Earth

A really fascinating simulation -- CO2 emissions, birth rates, and death rates, all shown on a world map in simulated real-time. A little starburst means 1 birth, a dark burst means 1 death, and colors of countries change to show their emissions. Also, mouse over individual countries, and read their specific birth and death rates and emissions data. In the lower right, a little table counts up how many people have been born, how many have died, and how many tons of emissions have been produced since you opened the page. Fascinating.

13 to 20 December, 2009

The Vote for NYC Mayor

The NY Times has created a really interesting map showing the votes for Michael Bloomberg and his opponent in 2009 and in 2005, and comparing the change. These maps look at the vote block-by-block throughout the 5 boroughs. A very clear and very intelligent use of a simple map to explore a complex topic. Worth a look.

20 to 27 December, 2009

Virtual Pilot

Several years ago, Lufthansa created its first Virtual Pilot game, challenging players to click on the "correct city" in a set amount of time. Recently they rolled out "Virtual Pilot 2", which not only is a more sophisticated and interesting online game, with more detailed and colorful maps, but also offers interesting prizes, including travel on Lufthansa. It does require that you register, but they request minimal information. You are given 2 hints for each destination and then have to click as close as possible to the spot that represents the location. You can play a wine tour, a sightseeing tour, a taste tour, or an artifact tour. There are also games available on facebook and twitter.

27 December 2009 to 3 January 2010

Stop Disasters

The United Nations' International Strategy for Disaster Reduction recently put this interesting "stop disaster" game on the web. The basic idea is to develop strategies for reducing the number of dead and injured following disasters triggered by natural events and hazards, such as floods, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Even if you don't play the game, there are many, many resources, especially for teachers and parents but not limited to that audience, as well a video clips and all kinds of information.


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