Fun with Maps 207&208

Happy Memorial Day everyone. This is a day of remembrance and honoring those that serve or have served our country in any of the Armed Forces. Please take some time today to thank anyone you know that served and be grateful they fought for our freedom.

Map 207 is from one of my favorite websites, Atlas Obscura. The article entitled “When Land Surveys Were a Modern Marvel” popped up on my Facebook newsfeed and I saw this little beauty of a map. It shows the grid system of Ohio created by land surveys starting in the late 18th Century. Parcels of unsettled land six miles square were surveyed and divided for sale to the citizens of the United States by the federal government as a way to pay off debts from the Revolutionary War. There were vast amounts of unsettled land (unsettled by colonists, at least, Native Americans were there and the government didn’t care) and the government used this resource as a way to pay off war debts (wars are expensive after all).

Map 207

Ohio was one of the first states to be parceled and thus was a guinea pig for the process. Thomas Jefferson wanted to set up a grid of equal squares but Alexander Hamilton and his allies wanted to use a metes and bounds system where plots were split using descriptions of the physical geography like rivers, streams, hills, etc. Jefferson’s method won out in the end, thankfully, because Hamilton’s would have been ridiculous. I’m kind of OCD so everyone might not agree but can you imagine an entire country of random plots based on terrain?! Madness! As you can see in the map above, however, what were supposed to be straight lines and ninety degree angles didn’t always end up perfectly so. Surveying technology wasn’t very advanced in that time and the individuals doing the plotting often disregarded their colleagues markers and placed their own. The OCD in me is frustrated by it but it’s not so bad when you learn the history behind this beautifully-imperfect map of our seventeenth state.

* * * * *

Map 208 concerns the tourism industry worldwide (How Much). Tourism affects a lot of national economies, some more than others. This map/infographic is quite interesting because it shows both how much tourism money flows into many of the world’s economies but also how dependent each nation is upon this industry. The United States benefitted from $488 billion in tourism in 2017 (they must mean in the year leading up to when the figures were generated because obviously 2017 isn’t over yet). That puts the U.S in the top spot by volume but only 2-5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) came from tourism which is why it is light blue.

Map 208

Countries in the infographic are represented in four colors based on how much of their GDP is gained by tourism. The reds are the most dependent on tourism at 7% or more. The countries in this group typically have smaller populations, smaller economies, or both. Malta and Croatia are the top two countries with high dependency on tourism at roughly 15% of their GDP. Other highly-dependent economies are Thailand, Jamaica, and Iceland. The dark blue nations get very little of their GDP from tourism, less than 2%. There are some very large territories in that group including Russia and Canada. Both are covered in a lot of snow and ice much of the year so there isn’t much reason to visit unless you like to ski. Sure, there are many people that like to ski and do other Winter activities but this type of tourism isn’t nearly as popular as the warm-weather kind. I’d much rather build a sand castle on a sunny beach than snow-shoe through the Siberian wilderness.

Is your country included above? Is it highly dependent on tourism or not at all? Let me know in the comments below.


Until next time,


Bryan Signature 2




Bonus Map Link: Gulf of Mexico Sea Floor Bathymetry

Bonus Bonus Map Link: August 21st, 2017 Solar Eclipse







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