The GIS Notebook

© 1998-2008 Bill Thoen

These are short articles on various subjects related to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). They include online resource pointers, interesting amusements, historical inforomation, GIS concepts and "how to" documents, and anything else I thought might interest you.

Online Mapping with SVG

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) offer an easy way to produce high-quality graphics online, but have not yet been widely used for making maps on the web. The reasons are probably due to a lack of tools for creating and displaying them, but now that most modern browsers can display SVG, the next job is to provide some map-making tools. In this article, I demonstrate a tool that can translate MapInfo TAB files into SVG, and even make them interactive with a little JavaScript! More...

Origins of the Compass Rose

The compass rose has appeared on charts and maps since the 1300's when the portolan charts first made their appearance. The term "rose" comes from the figure's compass points resembling the petals of the well-known flower. More...

A Guide to Unusual Maps on the Internet

Humans map all sorts of things; not just geography. In many ways, we express ourselves in the most interesting ways through the cartographic metaphor, and this was the subject of my GEO World GIS Online column for August 1999. Here I've collected a list of the strangest and most fascinating maps you'll ever see online. More...