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Thread: Cartology: The Science of Mapping

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    Info Cartology: The Science of Mapping

    Hello all!

    I’m really excited to see such a growth in the number of maps aimed
    at being scientifically accurate. I’m no expert on anything really, but
    I’d figure I’d compile some information so it’s easy for everyone to
    access. The goal of this thread is to motivate cartographers looking
    to make scientifically accurate maps.

    To that end, I've compiled some resources. The table of contents can
    be found below.

    Plate Tectonics (Post 2) Plates, Earth, Geography
    Waterways (Post 3) Rivers, Lakes, Oceans, Water
    Farming (Post 4) Agriculture, Flora, Plants, Farming

    More to come soon...


    READ THESE BULLETS

    - If you need to find something specific, use the search command on
    your computer. “Ctrl” then “F” on a windows machine. “Command”,
    then “F” on a mac. Search a keyword.

    - I’m not a scientist or professional. If you see something that’s wrong
    of if you disagree with something. Challenge it and message me. You
    might be right.

    - If you learned something or think this might be useful, share it about.
    I’d love it if you could give someone who is asking a science question
    this link.

    - The images here are not copyrighted and the links include things that
    belong to others. It’s not all mine.
    Azelor likes this.
    The best maps are the ones we like the most after looking at the longest.

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    __________________________________________________ ______
    _____________Tectonic Plates:______________________________

    I’ve alway been interested in plate tectonics. To keep things short
    and simple, I’ll just cover different types of plate boundaries.
    Plates are always pushing against each other (collision boundaries),
    pulling apart (diverging boundaries), or going over/under another
    (subduction boundaries. What type of boundary exists in a certain
    location is dependent upon the movement of each plate and their
    thickness. Generally speaking, continental (land) plates are a lot
    thicker than oceanic plates. I’ll cover some basics here:

    COLLISION BOUNDARIES:

    Two Land Plates: This is the simplest plate boundary. The
    movement forces the edge of each plate to move upward, forming
    mountains. A great example of this would be how India is pushing
    up against China. This formed the “large” mountains in Nepal.

    Two Ocean Plates: As I mentioned, ocean plates are thinner that
    land plates. One ocean plate is pushed under the other. This ends
    up creating magma under the top plate. Water from the ocean is
    sucked down with the Earth. This generates cone (aggressive)
    volcanoes and a trench where the lesser plate is sucked under.
    Check out the Mid-Atlantic Ridge on Wikipedia or something.

    Land/Ocean Collision: Again, the thickness of the plates come into
    play here; the ocean plate is almost always shoved under the land.
    Magma is again formed from the heated and buried Earth. Cone
    (aggressive) volcanoes form along these regions and a trench is
    formed not far off the coast. Check out the ring of fire.


    DIVERGING BOUNDARIES:

    Two Land Plates: When two land plates pull apart, the link between
    them is weakened. This provides a path for magma (turning into
    lava upon emerging) to come up. Volcanoes form, but I’m not sure
    if they are cone (aggressive) volcanoes or shield (calm). I’d guess
    shield.

    Two Ocean Plates:Same thing here, except under water. These ones
    are definitely shield volcanoes. Are great example of this is the
    Mid-Atlantic Ridge.


    MISCELLANEOUS:

    Hot-Spot (Mantle Plume): When you’ve got a hotspot in the Earth
    and a (thin) ocean plate is rolling over it, an Island chain will form.
    This process is very slow. The older islands, due to Erosion, are
    much smaller. The most obvious example (and the only one I can
    think of right now) is Hawaii.

    Sliding: This is a boundary where two plates are “sliding” against
    one another but not directly impacting or pulling away. You’ll get a
    fault here and an increased risk of Earthquakes (thus Tsunamis if
    it’s near water). Check out the San Andreas Fault.

    Puzzle-Fit: A lot of cartographers use this to an awesome extent,
    and most also know what it is. You’ll see it with South America and
    Africa; the continents look like they fit together because of the
    plates moving apart.


    COMMON QUESTIONS:

    --->Why do plates move? Plates, like many things here on Earth,
    move because of convection currents. This is (essentially) when
    something hot rises and cools when it falls. Think of a lava lamp.
    Currents such as this also drive the wind and waves (I might talk
    about that later). The half-molten rock that is part of the Earth’s
    crust is also moving, albeit slowly. This movement causes the
    plate movement we see today.

    --->If plates are being melted at some boundaries, how is a plate
    formed? In essentially the same way! Underwater volcanoes,
    especially, contribute to the formation of ocean crust. All of the
    rocks on Earth are just in a really slow cycle.

    --->Do plates change their directions of movement (and, if so,
    how?) Well, check out the below pic; it’s of the hotspot that created
    the Hawaiian Island Chain. What’s cool is that it bends! That suggests
    change in movement. Plate traffic-jams can cause massive change
    in plate movement across the world. There may be other reasons.

    Additional Resources:

    Plate Movement Animation Here you can find an animation of the plate
    movement over the past 150 million years! This is a popup (potentially).

    Island Chain Animation Here is an animation
    of how an island chain forms, featuring a hotspot. This link
    opens a text page; click the image on that page.

    __________________________________________________ ___________
    If you’re using this for a project, please check my research with some of
    your own. There’s a chance I jumbled something up here. Let me know
    if I did; I’ll edit it.

    If you have a further question or such, ask it! Send me information and
    I might edit it into this post. The goal of this thread is to be a hub of
    resources for the making of scientifically accurate maps.
    The best maps are the ones we like the most after looking at the longest.

  3. #3
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    __________________________________________________ ______
    ______________WATERWAYS___________________________ ____

    It might be offensively simple for me to start by reminding everyone
    that water is a liquid, and liquids conform to their shape. But, as you
    can see, I decided to start that way anyway. Itís important to
    remember the basic properties of water determine where it flows.
    Iím no member of the River Police (or any other such group), but Iíd
    like to cover the fundamentals of waterways below.


    RIVER PHYSICS:

    Law #1: A river will always enter the sea (or lake) in one location. A
    delta is considered to be one location due to how it forms, but you
    wonít find a river that dumps into the sea and continues on down the
    coast. The water will follow the most natural path to the lowest location.
    Older rivers will have carved out that path.

    Law #2: Youíd be hard pressed to find a major river that doesnít have
    tributaries. This is something cartographers on the site are consistently
    talking about, from what I can see. Tributaries, like the main river,
    are coming down from high-elevation places and merge. All tributaries
    will merge in the same direction and will widen the river when merging
    (most likely).

    Law #3: A river grows deeper or wider the closer it gets to the sea.
    Rivers will also form big arcs (meandering old rivers, slower current)
    or rapids (possibly newer rivers with more active currents). Most
    obviously, rivers flow downhill, so itís important to know your terrain
    and slopes.

    Law #4: While rivers can come together, as previously mentioned, itís
    very very rare to see one break apart. The water will always take the
    steepest (downwards) route and there can only be one. Rivers may
    indeed split when the first route simply cannot move that much water
    quick enough. Splits are generally very short-lived; the river will
    reconnect somewhere down the line.


    LAKES:

    How does a Lake Form? A lake can form many ways. Most notably,
    lakes form when a river leads into an area where the surrounding
    slope is all upwards. The water will fill this valley and create a lake.
    Other lakes could be formed by human-built structures, volcanoes,
    melting ice, etc... A lake must be constantly filled or else it will dry up.

    Outgoing Water: The river that empties a lake is unique in that it is the
    only river emptying the lake. The water exits the lake all via the same
    river in most cases, and so itís not realistic to see a river thatís splitting
    off into many different branches and emptying via many small rivers.
    Youíd have to have very flat terrain and a lot of other factors.

    More: Iím basing some of the information here off of Redrobes (I thought
    Iíd give him credit ) In his words ďa lake is a bit like a very fat bit of
    river.Ē Also, check out a movie from his thread that shows water drainage
    post five <here>. Very cool.


    IRRIGATION

    Given that farming was such a big deal for medieval culture, and is also
    pretty important now, moving water to crops has been important. Irrigation
    techniques and such helped farmers supply populations with enough to eat.
    There are different levels of irrigation systems based on the technology of
    the times and the requirements of the area.

    One of the simplest forms of an irrigation system is a maze of ditches; water
    (often filled with waste) is filtered through the fields and out. Since plants
    arenít harmed by waste, and are actually benefitting from it, this can be
    effective. Itís also the sign of a very undeveloped farm. These sorts of
    techniques were used in the very earliest of civilizations.

    An early piece of technology that improved irrigation was called a ďsakiaĒ. Itís
    also used today in India. Itís essentially a hollow wheel used to transport water.
    Itís largely dependent upon current and floods. Some civilizations built artificial
    containers to hold and channel water. These could be underground or
    above-ground. These are used today of course - perhaps you know of one nearby.

    With the motors and technology we have today, much of advanced irrigation is
    done by pumps and machines. Itís undeniably more effective because it provides
    a steady amount of water. Iíll expand on this when I get into agriculture next post!

    Additional Resources:

    World Map of Water Usage for Agriculture This map shows each countryís water
    usage for agriculture for the year 2001.

    [Attachment] The animation shows natural water drainage. Courtesy of Redrobes.
    Read more here.


    __________________________________________________ ___________
    If youíre using this for a project, please check my research with some of
    your own. Thereís a chance I jumbled something up here. Let me know
    if I did; Iíll edit it.

    If you have a further question or such, ask it! Send me information and
    I might edit it into this post. The goal of this thread is to be a hub of
    resources for the making of scientifically accurate maps.



    MOVIE of Waterways
    Last edited by foremost; 06-07-2014 at 11:36 AM.
    The best maps are the ones we like the most after looking at the longest.

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    Praise

    __________________________________________________ ______
    ____________AGRICULTURE_AND FLORA______________________

    One of the most obvious things about growing and farming is that
    not every plant is suitable for every different climate. Many plants
    do better than others in humid areas, while some are able to
    survive with less competition. Here I’ll look at what plants grow
    where, what’s common for different times, and how agriculture
    might inspire the cuisine of native civilizations.

    Tropical (Wet, Hot, Humid): As one website put it, “Growing
    tropical vegetables is an easy recipe for success when growing
    vegetables in the tropics.” [Gee, Thanks!] However, this remains
    good advice, I suppose. Certain plants grow better in certain areas.
    Growing things in such a climate presents multiple challenges;
    first, there will be a lot of competition for crops. This means the
    best crops are able to make do with less room. Second, bugs that
    destroy plants thrive in these areas, preventing leafy or delicate
    plants from prospering. You’ll also find an increased amount of water
    in these tropical areas, but it comes from off-and-on sources. The
    plants on Barbados have to be capable of withstanding the brief
    rains and dry periods; the rain briefly floods the island, and then
    drains down through the rocks. Tea, Rice, Rubber (trees), and other
    crops that demand moisture are grown in Southeast Asia and in some
    parts of South America.

    Desert: I think we all know what a desert is like! Desert plants have
    to survive with extremely limited amounts of water and hot
    temperatures. But don’t fool yourself in assuming the desert is
    completely barren (I guess it depends on the desert): picture.
    However, the desert remains an unsuitable place for agriculture, for
    the most part; farming in Ancient Egypt mostly happened along the
    Nile and at the delta.

    (For a great desert map, check out the Sultanate of Sharessan map by - Max -)

    However, the area you are mapping may not be a classic example of
    a biome. If it is, you probably already have a good idea of the plant
    life in the region. In addition, recent technology has made it more
    possible to grow different types of plants everywhere!

    To help convey this information, I thought I’d use two different types of
    resources, and combine them into one! Each crop is a link; click the link
    to bring up a map of where each crop is from. We like maps here at the
    Cartographers Guild! Please note similar crops, and also note the
    general climates of the areas in which they grow.

    Cartology: The Science of Mapping-screen-shot-2014-06-07-11.41.14-am.png
    Cartology: The Science of Mapping-screen-shot-2014-06-07-11.41.39-am.png
    Cartology: The Science of Mapping-screen-shot-2014-06-07-11.41.25-am.png
    Cartology: The Science of Mapping-screen-shot-2014-06-07-11.41.32-am.png

    Links (MAPS! Woot):

    TEA
    COFFEE (Top ten producers are yellow)
    RICE
    MAIZE
    TOMATOES
    APPLES
    POTATOES
    SOYBEANS
    HAY
    COTTON
    WHEAT
    BANANAS AND PLANTAINS
    CASSAVA
    SWEET POTATOES
    SORGHUM


    Additional Resources:

    10 Most Useful Crops This is my main resource, so you’ll find what this
    website says to be stated here.

    World Map of Water Usage for Agriculture This map shows each country’s
    water usage for agriculture for the year 2001.

    Koppen Climate The map of the world’s climate.

    __________________________________________________ ________
    If you’re using this for a project, please check my research with some of
    your own. There’s a chance I jumbled something up here. Let me know
    if I did; I’ll edit it.

    If you have a further question or such, ask it! Send me information and
    I might edit it into this post. The goal of this thread is to be a hub of
    resources for the making of scientifically accurate maps
    Last edited by foremost; 06-07-2014 at 11:55 AM.
    The best maps are the ones we like the most after looking at the longest.

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