Marie Tharp mapping the ocean floor — 2 books one podcast
Book Reviews / September 15, 2016

                    Marie Tharp was a brilliant and determined woman. She faced institutionalized discrimination against women in her field and pushed through to be a leader. Her work helped us understand our world through plate tectonics and ocean basins better. By combining  and connecting distinct research trips of transects and bathymetric profiles across the ocean, she created a whole picture view of the ocean. Her meta-analysis resulted in maps that revealed patterns of the whole earth that explained as much above sea level as it did below in the abyss. To celebrate her work I’m presenting two books and and interview with one of the authors. Both of these books will enlighten you to how Marie Tharp was a pivotal influence on our consciousness about the structure of the world. Both are well written (and for well illustrated) to bring to us the story of how she pulled information from transoceanic trips to interpolate a pattern that reinforced emerging ideas about the structure of our planet–ideas that during her life were considered revolutionary by some and derisively dismissed by others. Geographic literacy is a topic dear to my heart and the education of children is essential, so…

Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s History Of The Modern Theory Of The Earth
Book Reviews / May 12, 2016

Title: Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s History Of The Modern Theory Of The Earth Author: Naomi Oreskes Date/Year:  January 20, 2003 (Westview Press) Format: Paperback and Hardcove Language: English Reviewer: cartonaut We rely on coordinates, often using them as an absolute fixed location. But we often don’t add time nor recognize the fact that the ground is not fixed while the coordinate is. I live in Sonoma County, California. The part of the North American Plate upon which Sonoma County rides moves on average about 2 centimeters a year north at a velocity a little slower than the rotating edge of the Pacific Plate to my west (west of the San Andreas Fault) which is moving north around 10 centimeters a year. The rest of the North American Plate (roughly the part west of Nevada) moves about 2 centimeters a year to the west-southwest That means that the coordinates for my desk chair are about four feet north of that location’s coordinates when I was born (in that time we’ve also invented and accepted the concept of Plate Tectonics). Also a noticeable shift in my life time in the location of the parcel that the chair sits inside…more than my outstretched arms, more than the…

MAP: Exploring the world
Book Reviews / October 12, 2015

Title: MAP: Exploring the world Author: Phaidon Press Limited Date/Year: September 28, 2015 Format: Hardcover, 10.2 inches wide x 11.8 inches wide  x 1.5 inches thick Language: English (French is available through pre-order from Phaidon) Reviewer: cartonaut Phaidon Press Limited worked long and hard to compact a broad topic into a rolling visual summary of cartography with 300 maps and timeline. After a well written intro by John Hessler (Specialist in Modern Cartography and Geographic Information Science Geography and Map Division at the Library of Congress) the book begins with two facing geographic stories of the exaggerated perspective of the United States by a “New Yorker” told 37 years apart. Essentially cartograms of ego, they distort into cartographic hyperbole. The vantage of these initial maps are analogous to the rest of the book. We look at the history of maps from the perspective of a satellite, remotely sensing from a high altitude into the past and also from a foreshortened and compressed subjectivity from our place in time. This is a large book, so these maps and their detail are reproduced well. The color quality and resolution is greatly appreciated. However, those readers captivated by the detail of maps that were originally 6 feet in size will be…

Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities
Book Reviews / August 7, 2015

Title: Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities Author: Frank Jacobs Date/Year: October 29, 2009 Format: Paperback Reviewer: cartonaut To kick off Map Book Blog with its first review, this review is for a book that itself started as a blog that resulted in an atlas of curious maps compiled by Frank Jacobs called Strange Maps. The book and blog have had a large and devoted following and both have been reviewed often and in detail since it was first released almost 6 years ago, so I’m not covering any new ground here. What is still new in this book is the fresh light of day cast upon obscure oddities of the map world pulled and extracted from old cabinets and books. Frank Jacobs is part anthropologist and part carnival barker that brings illuminated commentary and curiosity to the two-headed maps of his special side show at the cartographic circus. He unearths relicts, idiosyncratic visions, beauty, and some monstrosities that captivate the map lover’s attention. In doing so, he reveals much about the people, their/our history, and the nuances of context for the times and events that encapsulated the map’s birth. This is an entertaining book that enlightens; so if you’re tired of the standard atlas…