Mercator – It’s a flat, flat world!

In the 16th century, Gerardus Mercator, a Flemish cartographer devised a new way of depicting the world on a flat plane. We set off to explore his map in order to illustrate his biggest blunders, unearth curious facts and explain the advantages that make this representation of the globe still relevant today. I especially like […]

Inuit Cartography: A Coastline Map Carved out of Driftwood

In Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland), the Inuit people are known for carving portable maps out of driftwood to be used while navigating coastal waters. These pieces, which are small enough to be carried in a mitten, represent coastlines in a continuous line, up one side of the wood and down the other. The maps are compact, […]

Not your typical map: “Where is all the poop on the moon?”

Ever wondered what the astronauts that landed on the moon did with their waste? Well, they ditched them on the moon itself. It’s been nearly 50 years since the Apollo 11 moon landing. Neil Armstrong’s iconic footprint is still there, undisturbed; there’s no atmosphere, no wind on the moon to blow it away. But the […]

what3words – The addressing system to uniquely identify locations using just three words

what3words is a really simple way to talk about location. We have divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and assigned each one a unique 3 word address. It means anyone can accurately find any location and share it more quickly, easily and with less ambiguity than any other system. The […]

MySQL ST_Distance_Sphere Polyfill

One of the cool things about MySQL 5.7 is the fact that it sports a few spatial convenience functions (since 5.7.6), allowing one to do operations on geometric values. One of those convenience functions is ST_Distance_Sphere, which allows one to calculate the (spherical) distance between two points. Recently I was working an project where I […]