Best of the blogs

By on 9 January, 2018

Welcome to 2018, Spatial Source readers! The world’s cartography and GIS bloggers seem to have gone into overdrive over the holiday break, generating some top-shelf posts on all things mapping-and-GIS-related. Ease into the new year perusing our hand-picked favourites, and you may just gain some insight to support your professional endeavours and imagination alike.

Google Maps’ Moat

Justin O’Beirne’s blog

Justin O’Beirne gives us a fantastically detailed and illustrative post, explaining exactly how and why Google Maps’ services are so far ahead of their competition. Hint: it has to do with the richness of their data.

Drone LiDAR or Photogrammetry? Everything you need to know.


Confused or doubtful about the rapidly-maturing discipline of photogrammetry on LiDAR’s traditional turf? You wouldn’t be the only one. Geoawesomeness serves up a brilliant explainer that takes the issue back to basics while providing a detailed analysis of both approaches. Go get primed!

Planet Money goes to space

Planet Money

National Public Radio (NPR)’s excellent Planet Money program documents a wildly ambitious project for a publicly funded radio program — procuring and launching their own satellite. Listen and marvel at the fascinating tale over four episodes, which gives sharp insights into the contemporary space industry — and exactly what’s involved in getting your own CubeSat off the ground.

FBI Maps of Japanese Nationals and Economic Interests in the 1930s

“Map Showing Japanese Nationals, Enterprises, Consulates, Resources and Japanese Ship Routes.” Part of “Japanese Pre-War Colonization” atlas, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1935. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

Worlds Revealed: Geography & maps at the Library of Congress

Ryan Moore, a cartographic specialist in the Geography and Map Division at the Library of Congress, presents and annotates a series of newly-released FBI maps of Japan’s economic interests in the 1930s.


Thank you for being so awesome and so open, Mapzen. RIP.


Geoawesomeness announces the imminent shutdown of hosted open source mapping service Mapzen, paying their tributes and highlighting next steps and alternatives for users of the service.

Self-Contained Cities: Hyperdense Arcologies of Urban Fantasy & Utopian Fiction

99 percent invisible

Another in 99 percent’s beautifully curated ‘mini story’ series, this episode and article chronicles the chimera of the self-contained megacity in popular culture throughout the ages — and the real, historical human endeavours undertaken in an attempt to realise that dream.

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