Maps and demography

2008 01 26
System compatibility, writ large

The NYT had a little blip today about the new freight train service between China and Germany. It’s interesting in itself, and especially so because apparently Russia and Mongolia’s national railroads use a different gauge than the national railroads of China, Germany, Poland and whatever other country the route passes through. So a single train can’t make the journey. They have to unload the freight and re-load it, to transfer between trains that run on the relevant gauges. I love this for reasons I’m having a hard time articulating fully. Giant systems, huge investments of resources and labor and time for their respective countries, where the decisions about the basic specs have huge ramifications, and it would be just a nightmare to fix.

But here’s where the NYT story surpasses itself into infrastructure geek sublimity. Because a similar problem of incompatible gauges has cropped up at other times in history, and the article links to the amazing example of the US southern railroads, which in 1886 converted almost 12,000 miles of track (and all their working trains too) to a different gauge in two days.

Comments Off

2007 09 30
Get the skinny on your zip

Posted by in: Maps and demography


I found mine fascinating.

Howls of outrage (3)

2006 10 03
Maps of War

From Maps of War.

Hat tip to Anne.

Howls of outrage (2)

2005 10 19
Map of US by personal attachment

Posted by in: Maps and demography

To redeem myself from that last post, here’s something cool: a map of the US according to which major cities people identify with. There’s a survey; you can go contribute your attachments. They’re doing it for baseball teams too.

Via the always interesting The Map Room.

A single voice crying in the wilderness (1)