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National Park Maps
National Park Maps

This Digital Library Contains 1000 National Park Maps

National Park Maps
National Park Maps

From barren deserts to lush forests, America's National Park System contains some of the most beautiful and varied landscapes on earth. If you don't have time to visit every NPS property, this digital map database reported by City Lab can help you explore them from the comfort of home. 

Since 2013, one park ranger has uploaded 1053 high-resolution national park maps to npmaps.com. Matt Holly, an employee of the Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate in Colorado, was inspired to launch the unofficial site as a way of organizing the service's vast body of cartography. On the website he writes:

I created this site because I love visiting national parks and planning trips by poring over a classic national park map. However, I’ve always found it time-consuming to visit each park’s web page and use an embedded map viewer or muddle through the website to find a nice printable map. So I’ve done the dirty work for you and collected maps of each park and hosted them here.

The National Park System is composed of 411 protected areas. The library contains maps from around 100 of them, and includes camping maps, trail maps, nautical charts, and local geology guides. 

One of the most exciting aspects of the database is that every map you see is in the public domain. That means that visitors are free to download the maps and use them as they please. Many of the same maps can be found on NPS's official webpages, but Holly takes extra steps to make his versions stand out. He boosts image quality while removing any superfluous text, and each map is accompanied by a summary. 

Whether you're planning a trip for the National Park Service's centennial this fall, or you're just a sucker for good map porn, the collection is worth checking out. You can view some stunning examples from the database below.

Carlsbad Cavern Vintage Map Postcard

Crater Lake Illustrated Map

Detail Map of St. John

Zion Canyon (North) Topographic Map

Devil's Garden Hiking Trail Map (Arches National Park)

[h/t City Lab]

All images courtesy of National Park Maps.

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Afternoon Map
Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site HowMuch.net created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and Cable.co.uk, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view HowMuch.net’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

[h/t Thrillist]

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Tony Hisgett, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0
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Explore Google Street View With a Soundtrack Chosen by AI
Tony Hisgett, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0
Tony Hisgett, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

Google Street View is the closest you can get to globetrotting without leaving your living room. The technology features 360-degree views of thousands of locations that anyone can view by dragging their cursor across their computer screen. Now, a media artist has made the immersive experience even more realistic. As Co.Design reports, Nao Tokui’s new project Imaginary Soundscape pairs Google Street View locations with soundtracks chosen by AI.

The background noises are designed to feel like they were recorded in the same place that was photographed. Views of the inside of the Spanish church Sagrada Familia come with the sound of chatter echoing against high ceilings; pictures of the Westminster Bridge Road in London are accompanied by soft engine roars and background conversation in British accents; the view of a forest pilgrimage path in Japan is paired with chipping insects and birds and snapping twigs.

But unlike the images, the noises aren’t attached to each specific place. Rather, they’re open source audio tracks the AI system thought would fit well with the scene based on its visual information. Tokui and his team used two neural networks developed by MIT to build Imaginary Soundscape. The results, which include background noise for all of Street View, are available on the project’s website.

Search your address to see if the AI gets it right, or just select “random” to get an idea of the full range of soundtracks. The program isn't always spot-on (pictures of an empty Tokyo Station are accompanied by firework sounds, for example), but when it is, it’s easy to feel you’ve been transported away from your computer for a moment.

[h/t Co.Design]

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