Thursday, December 31, 2009

Adam discovers Google Earth 01

Time for a story arc.  Brian Basset's titular character in Adam@Home discovered Google Earth back in 2007.  And since this is the last year for the TV show "Lost" (which I haven't watched at all) this is a good place to start.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Geographic devolution

From New Yorker regular Roz Chast from back in August of 1989.  Bemoaning the state of geographic knowledge in the US is an easy map cartoon target, as we can see here, here, here, here, here, and here,

But Hi & Lois' Chip makes this point, which is valid... there are more nations in the world now than ever before, and thus so much more to know/learn.  And what with the interwebs one doesn't need to memorize geography, right? ..... but that's different than being utterly oblivious to one's own geopolitical location, much less immediate neighbors.  Or maybe such people merely instinctively reject the divisive artificial political constructs of borders and know in their hearts that we are all simply fellow travelers on this Spaceship Earth.  Yes?  ... Maybe not.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Desk map

This may have been better if the desk were severely cluttered.  But it's simplicity is also good.

This is by Dave Allen.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Witch house

Lio by Mark Tatulli.  This one is a little like a "celebrity map to the stars" cartoon joke (there's quite a lot of those) but not quite.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I love Christmas

Sheer awesomeness! This joke kills me every time.  Do send a link to this to all of your social scientist friends. I did.

But what does this have to do with maps?  It's a stretch, but any GIS data junkie understands the paramount importance of maintaining good control data.  But mostly this is here because it fits so very nicely with yesterday's post.... and it's very, very funny.

Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio

Click on the image to enlarge it to a legible size.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mad Social Scientist

Girl Genius (by Phil and Kaja Foglio) may be my most favorite webcomic ever.  This one and tomorrow's posting are a matched set because both feature this wonderful character: The mad social scientist.  It might be because half of my college degree is in sociology (the other half is geology).  But it's more likely simply because this webcomic is simply brilliant!

Click on the image to enlarge it to a more legible size.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Teen Weather

In case you can't read the caption on this one, it says "Teen Weather". I'm technically about 18 months away from experiencing a teenager full time in my house. Wish me luck! (Published in The New Yorker 10/2/1995 by Michael Crawford)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009


Is this guy doing the ultimate walking tour of a wine country?  Simply strolling in the park with the most sophisticated oenophilic equipment imaginable? What's up with the dude on the grass?  I'm hoping that thing the pedestrian is reading is a map 'cause that's the only reason I can think to include this one. By Glyn Goodwin, probably meant as an illustration for an article. in some magazine. champagne

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pwned by XKCD

I'm sorry, but I don't think I'm enough of a gamer to get completely his one. XKCD by Randall Munroe everybody!

Go to this actual webcomic, hover over the image, and there will be an additional message in the "title-text" . This one says:
I'm sure a discussion of the reason for the disappearance of adventure games in favor of RPGs would be fascinating
 I still don't get it, though I wouldn't mind hearing that discussion. Even looking up what a "grue" is didn't help

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Random McNally

"Close to home" by John McPherson. The irony is pretty intense. Rand McNally does seem to have lost out to the likes of Google, Mapquest, and Microsoft in the modern revolution in consumer-grade mapping. But they're still in that that game... though they're making a bigger play in the trucking navigation business... making this comic even more poignant.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Captain Estar

This is from a graphic novel "Captain Estar Goes to Heaven" by Winston Rowntree at the Subnormality webcomic (warning, it can be pretty dark, but it's intricately drawn with tons of detail, and not just in the dialog). The tagline on Subnormality is "Comix with too many words since 2007". This panel, just like the associated webcomic, very much lives up to that name. And why this panel? Notice the "Maps for the Galactic Backpacker" manual in the hands of the two folks in the lower right... not to be compared with the inestimable "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


As a cat owner I can attest to the veracity of the inexplicable behavior of felines. And as a firm believer in God's sense of humor I'll atest to the final panel as well. David Malki's Wondermark is still a good websomic.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Batter's up!

This is another amazing webcomic from Randall Munroe's xkcd. This one is potentially very informative. I never quite figured out the baseball projection for the map of this subject.

Go to this actual webcomic, hover over the image, and there will be an additional message in the "title-text" . This one says:

I once got to second base with a basketball player. She was so confused.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Inner system

New Yorker cover from August 31, 1987. This one done by Eugène Mihaesco. More astronomy than map, but I feel it still counts, since astronomy is important to mapping and this isn't how astronomy typically presents itself to the earthbound.. except, of course, for new Yorkers. And it's my blog so I get to decide, so there.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Map IQ

Artist Scott Maser's take on advanced intelligence (or maybe the alien is just good at origami).  If folding maps go away jokes about the difficulty of folding them will become obsolete a la the "buggy whip".  Would anybody miss them?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009


9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney. There's a LOT of backstory behind this particular strip. The short version...let's see... These girls are friends from high school. Amos was an uber-geek who was friends with the blonde and infatuated with the brunette. Now these two are visiting having not seen one another for a few years. Amos, during that time, has changed.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis.

Reminds me of a remarkable little news story last week: Rwanda is the first nation to be officially certified as mine-free. That's nice.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lost puppy

Close to home. by John McPherson. I don't think there's any extra meaning behind the name of the puppy or the location where it was found.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Earth here

Here's another "You are here" gag. This one by Mark Lynch. It's got some depth to it.... or it makes no sense. Or both.

Friday, November 27, 2009


This is a very clever take on map push pins. And I think there has been at least one, if not several, similar Far Side comics on this theme, but for entomologists rather than cartographers. This cartoon by Mike Twohy was in the New Yorker in 12-8-2003. 'Course cartographers don't tend to use physical push pins amynore.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Hi & Lois isn't a comic I thought would show up here. But this blatant shout-out to geography wins it a place here today.

For a more in-depth discussion of 'stans, see this.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On the trail

Mark Trail. Good grief, but this strip has to have been in papers for a ridiculously long time. Who even reads this anymore? I mean besides the folks at The Comics Curmudgeon. But the big wall map certainly qualifies this episode for this blog.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Buying a second-rate GPS seems to be a major theme for the new technology. Remember these?:
There'll be plenty more of these to be sure.

Tom Armstrong's Marvin comic strip is today's feature.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


And scene. It's a little odd that the kid doesn't know what a GPS is. You'da thunk he woulda taught his 'rents about it long ago. Or is GPS an anomalous older-user technology that younger folk tend to care less about?

Friday, November 20, 2009


This one shold, however be second-to-last (just before the resolution. This one I think is genuinely funny. The others were good, but obviously just set-up. I wonder if the old lady is actually saying anything there.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Yeah, I do think I mixed up the order of the story arc. Doesn't really matter though... does it? Should the crazier desintations the Jeremy kid gets himself into later in the story arc really need the set-up?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Maybe I'm a little lost in the story arc. Maybe this one was supposed to come before the others... Maybe not. This is the first time the Dad promises to stay on the phone the entire time, as opposed to getting off the phone occasionally, and he's beginning to realize the depth of the situation.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Next post in the "Jeremey gets lost" story arc on "Zits" from a few weeks ago. It was a fun arc. And it's a pretty good strip.
I had a co-worker once who did this at work with his often-lost wife. Not good for the productivity.

Monday, November 16, 2009


A few weeks ago the comic strip "Zits" (by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman) did an entire week on a map-related story arc. Here it is again in case you missed it:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rail prophesy

This is one from the ancient archives. I don't know how old it is, but it's almost certainly over 100 years old. And as a prophesy it rather failed to turn out this way. Roadways for automobiles may have reached this level of complexity in England, but the rail lines have certainly not. Here's a link to rail maps for England:
The cartoon does appear to show "The Chunnel", or rather several different iterations of it.

One question: Why did this cartoon stop at Scotland? Did the Scots not want rail? Were they not worthy of it?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Knowledge

I can't believe I haven't done a Sheldon
yet. This is truly a magnificent webcomic. Certainly one of the best in the world. It's created by Dave Kellett. It's about a orphaned boy, raised by his grandfather, who became a billionaire by writing some piece of software. Then he uploaded an encyclopedia into a duck. And it's absolutely hilarious. Do go and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let there be...

This is a rather playful comic by Sam Gross published in The New Yorker in 7/16/2001. This was just after the dot-com bubble burst. I'm still liking the planet-making implications of this. A little reminiscent of THHGTTG.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wild goose

I'm kind of surprised how many map-related comics Doonesbury has been producing. I hadn't expected that. This one is from a story arc where the Afghanistan CIA desk chief (in the hat) is trying to make sure the young, incompetent CIA agent here stays out of trouble.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dork GPS

This is what the dialog says underneath the copyright stuff: "What does it say?" "There's bigger dorks than you ten feet ahead." Cartoon by Betsy Streeter. I like it. Could be a rather useful tool. Maybe it's already an ap?

Friday, November 6, 2009


Published in the New Yorker in 10/29/1990 by Mort Gerberg. I've never been to a party this far out. Could be fun though.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Driving directions

It's rather embarrassing the number of times I have actually done this. Darn you Mapquest!
The webcomic, by the way, is called "Wondermark" by David Malki and they're all in this style of Victorian-era illustrations Photoshopped and arranged just-so to make the joke. Clever, but not entirely my cup of tea.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Marital GPS

This is what happens when the GPS unit gets involved in the stereotypical "spouse asking for directions" argument. The term "Sat Nav" and the placement of the steering wheel make this a comic of British origin. And it is by British cartoonist Anthony Hutchings.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I am utterly incapable of hearing or seeing the word "aardvark" without immediately hearing this (loudly) in my head, and it's everything I can do to prevent myself from singing along out loud.
Comic is from "Monty" by Jim Meddick

Monday, November 2, 2009

Easter Bunny Island

The first time I heard about that place called "Easter Island", an image vaguely similar to this popped into my head. It's as good an explanation as any for why those giant head things might be there. This is, of course, from Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller.

Speaking of Easter, please forgive the following:
Knock knock. Who's there? Ether. Ether who? Ether bunny.
Knock knock. Who's there? Samoa. Samoa who? Samoa ether bunnies.
Knock knock. Who's there? Estelle. Estelle who? Estelle Samoa ether bunnies.
Knock knock. Who's there? Consumption. Consumption who? Consumption be done about all these ether bunnies?


Thursday, October 29, 2009

End Mormons

This part of the "How the US will end" series had to do with the scenario of Mormons taking over the US, or, more accurately, Mormons taking over after some other event incapacitates the US. The premise is along the lines of the Catholic Church carrying on many of the elements of the Roman Empire in its structural make up. I know from personal experience that many Mormons do, in fact, believe this scenario to be quite plausible, and actually quite likely (and not just in the "Romney 2012" sense). While I am LDS, I don't entirely buy this scenario. The enlarged ego this might create in SLC would almost certainly be insufferable.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

End warm

The article in this part of the series concentrated on the possibility of global warming ending the US, or at least severely changing it. Alaska is already experiencing some rather significant effects from rapid climate change (massive wildfires on what used to be permafrost earlier this year). Other parts of the country are already, arguably, already experiencing some significant changes as well. I'd be interested to see if Florida goes under (water) but even that could be on the extreme end of things. Mother Nature still has plenty of tricks up her sleeve even without having to resort to big climate change scenarios. For example, much of the western US is long overdue for some major earthquake activity. But will any of that end the US? I'm thinking maybe not.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

End saw

This illustration was the one that started the series on Slate. It didn't have a specific story associated with it. It kinda sorta has that whole Bond thing to it ("No, I expect you to die!") but that was a laser, not a saw blade.

Monday, October 26, 2009

End Nazis

Monday's a good day for Nazis, right? A couple weeks ago I posted an illustration from a series of articles about how America might end. I'll post the rest of the illustrations for that series this week. The article that went with this illustration was about how the US could become a totalitarian state ( That particular idea is immensely popular, or at least at the forefront of the imaginations of a depressingly large number of Americans. I am continuously astounded at how many people think it's not only plausible, but immanent. It would be utterly laughable if so many people didn't take it seriously.

Can I just say for the record here and now AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN! There's many dozens of scenarios that are far and away more likely, foremost of which is that the US will be just fine for a long while yet. Looking for Nazis in the bushes is counter-productive and an enormous waste of energy. Move on!