Thursday, September 30, 2010


In this Doonesbury from November of 2007

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

GPS-in-Law 2

From April of 2008 we have this GPS/in-law joke from Herb and Jamaal by Stephen Bentley. I made a post that I titled "GPS-in-Law" last month.  This one approaches that gag more directly.  But does it qualify as an "abusive GPS" gag?

Monday, September 27, 2010

What a waste

Frank Cotham got this published in The New Yorker in June of 2001.  Who are these guys?  By 2001 only China and Russia still had enough missiles to bother aiming them at specific U.S. cities and neither of them has any economic or military interest in doing so.  Or are these U.S. military planners trying to figure out where to deploy defensive missiles? 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fold the map

George Booth had this "spouses arguing about directions" cartoon published in The New Yorker in May of 2001.  I'm not sure if it's part of the joke that the driver apparently has this car driving on the wrong side of the bridge. Who even uses AAA maps anymore?  The AAA site features an online trip planner powered by Navteq, which is the same outfit that powers Mapquest and Bing Maps.  There's still a place on their site for getting hardcopy maps.

I just want to make a plug for the much better alternative to AAA:
Better World Auto Club (it kicks asphalt!)

And, yes, Better World has hardcopy maps available too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You are there

Here's a surrealist take on the "You are here" gag from Marc Tyler Nobleman. In case you can't see it, where the mall map on the actual directory says "You are here", the mall map in the reflection in the window says (in reflected backwards type) "You are there". 

Is it possible that the guy is Conan O'Brien?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No map for you!

This is a photo from of some directions by somebody who didn't want to go through the trouble of making a map.  I hope the tourist information center doesn't get lost when it follows these directions.  Maybe next time they will put a map there.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Treasure Maine

Here's another episode of Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller from July of 2008.  Click on the image to make is larger and more legible.  This kind of imaginative activity is par for the course for the Danae character in Non Sequitur.  Her miniature horse pet/buddy hasn't yet been able to talk much sense into her.

This is, however, the first time Maine gets a direct mention in the blog, so that makes 16 of the 50 states appearing in various posts so far.

Friday, September 17, 2010

New York City constellation

J.B. Handelsman had this published in The New Yorker in July of 1992.  I've often thought it'd be funny if it was, in fact, some ancient, long abandoned polytheistic mythology which turned out to be the fundamental truth upon which the universe operated.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Redistricting Israel - Sharon

This cartoon by "Chapette" of the International Herald Tribune pre-dated this one which covered almost the same topic. The only major difference is that this one involves Ariel Sharon who died between the time this editorial cartoon went to press and the one featuring Ehud Olmert aired a year-and-a-half later. It's a gerrymander gag combined with the ill-fated "Roadmap for Peace".

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Warm enough for ya?

Gahan Wilson gives us this alien-themed map-related commentary on global warming from an October 1995 issue of The New Yorker.  Coincidentally, 1995 is still in the list of 10 warmest years on record (either 2005 or 1998 tops the list depending on different calculations... though one study claims it's 1934 for various detailed technical reasons).   If things keep going as they are so far, 2010 promises to kick 1995 out of the top 10 listing and stands of good chance at hitting the top, or near the top of the list. Will that mean these guys in the UFO will be back soon?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ready for my close-up

The Book of Biff, that fantastic surrealist webcomic by Chris Hallbeck. Like the first Biff post, this one also deals with a scale gag. I'm sure this derived from the artist's concept of Google Earth's collection system, however in truth almost all urban "satellite images" seen on Google Earth and the other internet mapping sites are aerial photos.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Restaurants

Why not do another cartoon by Roz Chast this week? Just because this one from The New Yorker in July of 2001 is too tiny and detailed to be legible (sorry, I couldn't get a large enough version so that even clicking on it won't help.  If anybody out there can find a larger version of this which would be legible I'd be much obliged).  I'm sure that even if it were larger, most of the restaurant jokes it contains would be missed by non-New Yorkers. And don't confuse this with Chast's "Folk Art of Midtown" which she did the previous year. It's much better labeled on The New Yorker's cartoon archive site.  But it doesn't involve a map.

This sort of insanely detailed drawing and too-much-text is very much par for the course for Roz Chast submissions to The New Yorker.  I'm guessing that this one ran on two full pages when it ran all those years ago.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ancient GPS

Dan Reynolds gives us this rather elaborate Atlas joke.  It's actually a combination of an Atlas joke, a scale joke, and a GPS jokeThis post here, another "scale" gag, is actually the most visited post on my blog, consistently logging more hits every week.  And while its concept is almost identical to what's going on in this post, I somehow doubt this post will get the same number of hits.

If ya take a look at where this Roman charioteer is pointing on his Atlas, that's in the middle of deepest Africa.  No wonder these guys are hopelessly lost.  That wasn't even part of the "known world" back then... or at least not part of the world known to the Romans.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Big Sky

Here is a map of Montana by The New Yorker veteran Roz Chast from April of 1996.  This ran about a year after the Unabomber was caught and about a year after the Oklahoma City bombing.  This issue of The New Yorker hit the stands just before the Columbine shootings took place.

The "gorgeous mosaic" reference in the title comes from New York City Mayor David Dinkins who described the city's diversity thusly.  So this is a joke about diversity, or possibly the lack thereof.

Clicking on it might not make it large enough to read.  Here's a run-down of the captions:

  • Obsessed environmentalists
  • Obsessed anti-environmentalists
  • UFO buffs
  • Militia groups
  • Organised tax-dodgers
  • Mad bombers
  • Right-wing religious fanatics
  • Macho writers, their hippie wives and their hippie children
  • Hollywood pseudo-cowboys in need of privacy, open air, and a full-time personal staff of forty

This version will be larger and more legible.  It comes from that great site "Strange Maps" which has a more in-depth discussion of it than i care to tackle right now.  :
I also want to mention that today, with Montana, this is the 15th state referenced in this blog.  Only 35 to go (and i already got D.C.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Metric system

Here is a map that shows in red all of the nations that don't yet use the metric system: Liberia, Burma (aka Myanmar) and ... The United States of America.  Not so much comic as just sad.

About 10-15 years ago I remember hearing about some guy who sued the US government for not converting to the metric system. He claimed that it wasted a few billion dollars each year in converting measurements over for import/export labelling.  Then there's the catastrophe of the Mars Surveyor/Climate Orbiter where they lost the interplanetary probe due to different teams in the mission using different measurement systems.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Four Corners of the Earth

Where are the four corners of the earth?
Joseph Farris gives us this cartoon about the 3D nature of the Earth.  If the little girls wants to learn about a flat Earth here are a few teachers who might accommodate her: This guy, this guy, and maybe whoever made this "globe" of Kansas.

For an absolutely wonderful map of the Four Corners of the Earth, please see this post at the excellent blog "Strange Maps" by Frank Jacobs, where you can learn, among other great things, that the origins of the "Four Corners of the Earth" concept typically come from these Bible references: 

  • Revelation 7:1
  • Isaiah 11:12
  • and to a slightly lesser extent, Job 28:24, 37:3

In truth, this brings up an interesting topic because one of the defining characteristics of cartography for hundreds of years has been involved the complex mathematics involved in projecting the 3-dimensional planet onto 2-dimensional surfaces, since making a 3D globe at a scale that was even remotely useful has been impractical... until now.  With the advent of powerful computers it's now possible to perform cartography directly in 3D, even at 1:1 scales, or sometimes even higher.  Hundreds of years of math projections could become almost obsolete, used only for the occasional hardcopy printout.  Google Earth would blow the collective minds of cartographers even 50 years ago.  And yet the leading modern professional mapping software is still solidly stuck in a 2D platform.  Go figure.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Famous drive

In the upper right-hand corner of this print ad from 1948 is a stylized map of the "Niagara Parkway" which is the "Famous Drive" referred to at the top of the ad.  This is from the AdClassix site which had hundreds of old print ads available for sale. This is from the post-War era when touring these United States in mammoth new cars was rapidly becoming a new American pastime. And this was even before the Interstate system was born. I gotta say that Oldsmobile sedan looks HUGE!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Map the genome

He's a genius in genetics, but he can't fold a genome map.

Nick Downes gives us this cross-disciplinary genetics/cartography joke... with maybe a little origami thrown in.  To be fair, however, since the genome involves billions of base pairs, no genius could put it on a legible paper map.