Bookmarked Melbourne and Suburbs Isometrical Plan – 1866 (

A very detailed coloured lithograph by De Gruchy and Leigh of an aerial view of Melbourne in 1866 looking south from a point approximately above the corner of Victoria and Spring Streets. The picture extends from Yarra Park in the east to Batman’s Hill in the west and from Albert and Lonsdale Streets in the north to Port Philip Bay in the south.

This aerial view of Melbourne in 1866 is fascinating, not only for what it shows, but also to consider how it was actually constructed. Was it using a hot air balloon or was it simply based on De Gruchy and Leigh’s appreciation of the land?
Replied to Lost Cities of the Amazon Discovered From the Air (

From an aircraft, a lidar system fires down a grid of infrared beams, hundreds of thousands per second, and when each beam strikes something on the Earth’s surface it bounces back with a measure of distance. This produces an enormous cloud of data points, which can be fed into computer software that creates high resolution images in which scientists can digitally deforest the Amazon. By scrubbing away trees the maps reveal the Earth’s surface and the archaeological features on it. In this case, the images clearly showed 26 unique sites, including 11 that were previously unknown.

There is something odd and poetic to me about the idea of ‘scientists digitally deforesting the Amazon’.
Bookmarked How early Australian settlers drew maps to erase Indigenous people and push ideas of colonial superiority (

So the next time you find yourself in front of a historic map, make sure you ask what details have been included, which have been excluded and — most importantly — why?

Imogen Wegman discusses the way in which early maps of Australia portrayed Australia in a particular manner. This reminds me Simon Ryan’s book The Cartographic Eye. Although she suggests we need to be critical of old maps, I wonder about modern maps and what is included and/or excluded or does the advent of satellite imagery and so forth provide an exact science?
Bookmarked When Real World Mapping Meets Tolkien | Blog (

Maps are a window into an unknown landscape. They are simplifications of an increasingly complex world, affording us the opportunity to plan our adventures, make memories, and inspire our curiosities. It is these three attributes of maps and map making that continually motivate my work, in my endeavour to explore the realms of fantasy map creation within a real-world setting.

Dan Bell steps through the process of turning a real world map into something from Middle Earth.

Flight Simulator has shipped with an error in Open Street Map creating a tower in Fawkner.
Bookmarked This Haunting Animation Maps the Journeys of 15,790 Slave Ships in Two Minutes (Slate Magazine)

Usually, when we say “American slavery” or the “American slave trade,” we mean the American colonies or, later, the United States. But as we discussed …

This is a fascinating representation over time, with little black dots continually skimming across the Atlantic Ocean. It made me think how many different industries were associated and dependant on the trade of slaves.
Liked The Marvelous Mississippi River Meander Maps (

I have long admired the Mississippi River meander maps designed by Army Corps of Engineers cartographer Harold Fisk but have somehow never written a whole post about them. So when my pals at 20×200 reached out wanting me to write a blog post for them about their Fisk prints, I jumped at the chance. It gave me an excuse to write about art as time travel and, in particular, how Fisk’s clever map compresses thousands of years of a river’s activity into a single image.

Bookmarked First You Make the Maps | Elizabeth Della Zazzera (Lapham’s Quarterly)

From the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, European powers sent voyagers to lands farther and farther away from the continent in an expansionist period we now call the Age of Exploration. These journeys were propelled by religious fervor and fierce colonial sentiment—and an overall desire for new trade routes. They would not have been possible without the rise of modern cartography. While geographically accurate maps had existed before, the Age of Exploration saw the emergence of a sustained tradition of topographic surveying. Maps were being made specifically to guide travelers. Technology progressed quickly through the centuries, helping explorers and traders find their way to new imperial outposts—at least sometimes. On other occasions, hiccups in cartographic reasoning led their users even farther astray.

Elizabeth Della Zazzera documents the developments in mapping that made long sea voyages possible. It is easy to pick up a modern map and assume that this is the way it always was, even worse to open up Google Maps in the browser. Della Zazzera breaks down the various developments, providing examples to support her discussions. Although not necessarily about oceans, I am reminded of Simon Ryan’s book The Cartographic Eye and the way in which maps actual tell their own particular story.