Google Sightseeing: Fakin’ It!

The concept of a Potemkin village dates back to the late 18th century, when tales spread that the Russian military leader and governor Grigoriy Potyomkin (Potemkin) had ordered the construction of temporary, false-facaded ‘villages’ in his territory to impress visiting officials. The areas of the southern Russian Empire under Potyomkin’s governorship (‘New Russia‘, today’s southern…

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A Gallery of Contrasts Along International Borders

We may think of borders as merely invisible lines on maps, but over time these ‘imaginary’ lines can become very real indeed. Countries regulate (or fail to regulate) the usage of their lands in very different ways. US astronaut and former NASA Chief Scientist John Grunsfeld remarked earlier this year how the differences in land…

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Same Name, Other Side of the Border (Part VII: East Asia and Southeast Asia/Oceania)

Today, we present the second-to-last portion of our multi-part look at places around the world where a regional name at-large is used on both opposing sides of the border in the official names of administrative divisions.   Korea (North Korea/South Korea) Source: Kokiri, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Korean_dmz_map.png.  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence. This, of…

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Odds and Ends: 29 February, Unofficial Football World Championship

Today is 29 February, the extra day that occurs in the calendar every four years as well all know. But, did you know that there was actually a time and place where 30 February occurred on the calendar? The Spanish geoblog Fronteras has a nice article documenting just how it came to be (I won’t…

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Vintage Road Map Week, Part III

It’s the end of Vintage Road Map Week at The Basement Geographer! If you, like me, are a map freak, then you’ve probably tracked down your fair share of old road maps over the Internet, where good cartographic Samaritans have uploaded hundreds of images of old road maps that one can lose hours looking at…

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Google Sightseeing: North Korea Uncovered

For my latest article at Google Sightseeing, I returned to the topic of an earlier TBG post: North Korea Uncovered, the collaborative Internet project that helped identify thouands of places of interest in the reclusive state using Google Earth. Today’s post is just a tiny sampler of that, covering everything from propaganda etched into the…

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Ryugyong Hotel: Capital of Willows, Hotel of Doom

Source: Myouzke, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/Pyongyang-feb-2009.jpg. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence. It’s quite the coincidence that North Korea was prominent in the news this week, for an entry on the current status of the infamous Ryugyong Hotel was already in the queue for today. Taking the former name of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang for its…

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‘North Korea Uncovered’: Three Years Later

With the all-but-official designation of Kim Jong-un as heir apparent to his father Kim Jong-il (in the form of a military promotion to the rank of general despite never having been in the military), interesting times are ahead for North Korea. The entire system of state propaganda and idolatry must now be amended to allow for worship…

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