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  #51  
Old 12-10-2012, 11:30 AM
CC CC is offline
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re: flying over the country:
Many years ago I had a young man in my 7th grade science class. Whatever we were discussing prompted me to pull down the map of the U.S. The conversation focused on flying over Nebraska, as I remember, and as we were all looking at it, Noel asked, "When you're in an airplane, can you see the letters?"
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  #52  
Old 12-10-2012, 11:46 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
which led me to this, equally fascinating and pertinent:

Ghosts of Geography

Never thought about this my entire life, except vaguely through a bored haze while looking out of an airplane window.
Via the comments on that I found this - a map of the USA consisting solely of streets. Amazing how detailed a picture it gives you of the geography and terrain considering it is nothing but black lines showing each road.
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  #53  
Old 12-10-2012, 01:35 PM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is offline
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The night photo really illustrates something I asked about in this thread about US population density and that apparently line down the centre of the country.
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  #54  
Old 12-10-2012, 05:01 PM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
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Originally Posted by An Gadaí View Post
The night photo really illustrates something I asked about in this thread about US population density and that apparently line down the centre of the country.
Without looking, I think I remember discussing in that thread how the drier/wetter boundary line roughly connecting San Antonio with Minneapolis is there partly because the region east of this line is north of the Gulf of Mexico, where a lot of the atmospheric moisture that falls there is generated.
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  #55  
Old 12-10-2012, 05:06 PM
CC CC is offline
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So is the consensus here that those strings of evenly spaced lights all over the map, and particularly in the midwest, are evenly spaced towns that developed around watering stops on railroads and that also became convenient spots for farmers to travel to, hence - towns and cities?
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  #56  
Old 12-10-2012, 05:07 PM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
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Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
For an urban design studio class I took years ago in a Bay Area university, the assignment was to come up with a plan and design for that very abandoned-interstate-right-of-way in San Francisco. I remember my design tried to create this sort of curvy, Romantic-English-Olmsted park in that linear zone. My idea seems silly to me now, but the instructor liked it for some reason. At the time, most of the right-of-way was being used for parking lots -- which (in areas where there is a demand for parking) is a typical use for places with no short-term destiny, but which will probably be redeveloped eventually with more permanent structures.
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  #57  
Old 12-10-2012, 05:12 PM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
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Originally Posted by CC View Post
So is the consensus here that those strings of evenly spaced lights all over the map, and particularly in the midwest, are evenly spaced towns that developed around watering stops on railroads and that also became convenient spots for farmers to travel to, hence - towns and cities?
Not quite. As others have mentioned, the railroads generally went on diagonals. The more grid-like pattern you see owes at least as much, if not more, to the spread of motorized vehicles since about 1915. Most of towns you see were founded during the railroad era (some of them even before then, e.g. in Ohio), but the population hierarchy you see today has evolved since then, more or less following some of the predictions of Christaller's Central Place Theory.
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  #58  
Old 12-10-2012, 05:16 PM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
Amazing how this works: Not five minutes ago I became aware of this article, on ribbon farms:

How a Quirk of Medieval Land Farm Shapes Led to the American Psychology Today
I'm afraid your link didn't work for me, and I'd love to read this! Maybe you could give us the author and title or something - thanks!

Sounds like you might enjoy a book I read this year: Andro Linklater's Measuring America: How an Untamed Wilderness Shaped the United States and Fulfilled the Promise of Democracy.
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  #59  
Old 12-10-2012, 05:27 PM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
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Originally Posted by fiddlesticks View Post
The Virginia Military District, which was an area of great contention through the better part of the 19th century because it was not part of the Public Land Survey and titles were often unclear or under dispute.
That's it! What a mess. Good little Wikipedia article. Interesting how Ohio State University is the third-largest in the country partly because it so aggressively claimed title to legally ambiguous parcels in the Virginia Military District.

Like I say, you never know what you can see from an airplane until you start digging...or start Doping!

P.S. To CC: Your synopsis of this thread does give the basic permise (one of them, anyway) of Central Place Theory, so right on.

Last edited by JKellyMap; 12-10-2012 at 05:28 PM..
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  #60  
Old 12-11-2012, 02:11 PM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
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I'm afraid your link didn't work for me, and I'd love to read this! Maybe you could give us the author and title or something - thanks!
Never mind -- found it. Good observation -- that in the US, we gernerally parceled the farmlands first, and then figured out how to get the transportation to work around that -- part of the reason we were relatively quick to all but abandon railroads (for transporting people, at least).
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  #61  
Old 12-11-2012, 07:41 PM
Bambi Hassenpfeffer Bambi Hassenpfeffer is offline
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Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
I'm always intrigued to look at these images and note whcih cities aren't as bigm, or are the shape, as I expect. You'd never guess from this that Los Angeles is the second biggest metropolitan area in America, would you? It looks smaller than Chicago, though we know it is not. But that's because it's hemmed in by mountains and desert, I suppose, while Chicago is spread out. Miami looks really compressed.
To be fair, Miami is really compressed. The population in the three counties that make up the South Florida metro area is all crammed into a strip of coastline about 15 miles wide at its widest point. There are a number of national wildlife conservation areas immediately west that prevent any further growth in that direction.
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  #62  
Old 12-12-2012, 04:36 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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Originally Posted by CC View Post
re: flying over the country:
Many years ago I had a young man in my 7th grade science class. Whatever we were discussing prompted me to pull down the map of the U.S. The conversation focused on flying over Nebraska, as I remember, and as we were all looking at it, Noel asked, "When you're in an airplane, can you see the letters?"
Perhaps he knows my second cousin, who thinks Alaska and Hawaii are right off the coast of California. After all, that's where they were on the map in school.
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