Tag Archives: maps

Restricted Airspace

One of the questions in the wake of last week’s shoot down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is why was the aircraft even flying over eastern Ukraine? Generally speaking, because it was not banned from doing so. In today’s graphic, the Washington Post takes a look at those areas that the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) restricts flights or warns against travel due to hostile threats, e.g. war. Also note that the Post has included Ben Gurion Airport, which is still under the 24-hour period ban because of a Hamas rocket landing a mile away from the airport in Tel Aviv, Israel.

FAA restriction areas

FAA restriction areas

Credit for the piece goes to Katie Park, Kevin Schaul, and Gene Thorp.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

Talk about an airline with bad luck this year. Malaysia Airlines—yes of the missing flight in the Indian Ocean fame—lost another aircraft yesterday as separatists in eastern Ukraine allegedly shot it down with an SA-11 Gadfly surface-to-air missile. For those unaware, that is a much more deadly and capable system than the shoulder-launched missiles separatists have been using to shoot down Ukrainian aircraft. (In my non-expert opinion, the separatists probably thought they were doing just that, shooting down a Ukrainian transport plane.)

In short, there is quite a bit going on in eastern Ukraine today. Thankfully we have the New York Times creating a page of maps to explain the shoot-down of MH17.

Not all airlines have flown over Ukraine

Not all airlines have flown over Ukraine

Credit for the piece goes to the graphics department of the New York Times.

Death Toll in Gaza and Israel

Today’s piece, the first not on Québec, is a small but poignant reminder of the disparity between the number of deaths in Gaza and in Israel during this most recent conflict. According to the article, as of 16 July there has been one death in Israel for 194 in Gaza. This small piece from the New York Times shows the geographic location of the attacks from both sides and tallies the number of strikes. And the number of dead.

Comparing the death toll

Comparing the death toll

Credit for the piece goes to Craig Allen, David Furst, Nilkanth Patel, Archie Tse, and Derek Watkins.

City Walls of Québec

Beyond la Citadelle, Québec also enjoys a defensive wall that nearly surrounds Vieux-Québec, or Old Québec. These graphics come from the Barracks Sector, which used to house the Royal Artillery during the British period.

The Barracks Sector

The Barracks Sector

The walls in this section of the city date to 1745, but the redoubt in this area goes back to 1712, you can see that as the orange rectangle.

City walls over time

City walls over time

Credit for the pieces go to the graphics department of Parks Canada.

How to Build a Citadel

La Citadelle de Québec consists of several layers of fortifications that are not discernible to an eye outside the fortification. This has to do with the well-planned angle of the tops of the fortifications. Thankfully, designers said about explaining this through some graphics. While I do not have a great shot from outside the fortress of the angle, you can see some of the even slope in this photo from the top of the wall looking out towards Ville de Québec outside the city walls.

La Citadelle today, looking towards modern Québec

La Citadelle today, looking towards modern Québec

The fortification is composed of several different layers. This graphic colour codes them. For reference to the photo above, I am not standing “vous étes ici.” Rather, I am at the tip of bastion in the upper left of the diagram, just behind the pink—not red—line.

Colour-coded map of the fortification

Colour-coded map of the fortification

This graphic shows how la Citadelle would have been defended back in the 19th century. Note the lack of armoured vehicles as seen in the above photograph.

Cutaway of the fortification walls

Cutaway of the fortification walls

Credit for the piece goes to the design team behind the graphics.

Why Québec Was Important and How it Became English

When I was in Québec I had the good fortune to take photographs of multiple signs and graphics aiming to educate readers about various things. I have spent a bit of my weekend combing through my photographs to see what I can present.

The first in today’s post is simply why Québec was so important. It sat at the narrowest part of the St. Lawrence River upstream from the Atlantic and, most importantly, was defendable from a high, rocky terrain that fell into the river via a sheer cliff face. But why was all of that? Geology explains all (in this graphic). Cap Diamant, where la Citadelle de Québec resides, sits atop an outcropping of the Appalachian Mountains while a sedimentary valley separates it from the Laurentian Mountains. The St. Lawrence just happens to cut through it and voila, natural defensible territory. Or as Charles Dickens put it, the Gibraltar of North America.

The geology of Québec

The geology of Québec

The second is a quick series of graphics that basically explain why, despite the heavy French influence, Québec is a province of the majority English-speaking country of Canada, a former British colony. In short, the Battle of the Plains of Abraham (and to a lesser extent the Battle of Sainte-Foy.

In 15 minutes on the Plains of Abraham, a British infantry force under General Wolfe defeated a French infantry force under General Montcalm. Both generals died in the battle and just a few days later, the city of Québec surrendered to the British. This gave control of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence to the British. And with the British then entrenched behind the city walls, they were capable of withstanding any French siege.

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham

The second graphic explores the Battle of Sainte-Foy, which was a French victory over General Murray. The British then retreated to the defences of Québec, but the French forces failed to capitalise on their victory—and were in general too under-resourced. So the city remained in British hands while the Royal Navy destroyed the French Navy off the coast of France. And without supplies sent via the French Navy, the French were forced to surrender not just Québec, but Montreal and the whole of Canada to the United Kingdom. Fearing rebellion, London allowed Canada to retain its religion, language, and culture. Hence, a Francophone population in an otherwise English-speaking North America.

The Battle of Sainte-Foy

The Battle of Sainte-Foy

Credit for the pieces goes to unknown persons who designed the signage for various parks in Québec.

Understanding Museum Pieces in French

Yesterday’s piece was from the Musée de la Civilisation à Québec and looked at a bilingual exhibit on Greek and Roman mythology. The museum, of course, had many other exhibits. Today I want to show an interesting bit that explained why the museum, a modern construction dating to the late 1980s, incorporated an 18th century house called Maison Estèbe.

Maison Estèbe today

Maison Estèbe today

Well, the museum had a series of graphics with text explaining why. But they were only in French. But by some smart use of graphics and some thought as to how show the progression of time, the reader can piece together a good bit of the story.

Maison Estèbe

Maison Estèbe

Waterfront near Maison Estèbe

Waterfront near Maison Estèbe

Quay at Maison Estèbe

Quay at Maison Estèbe

And of course to make it abundantly clear, the excavation of Québec’s foundations also revealed longboats along the old shoreline, which when placed in front of a quay like below, just make perfect sense.

long ship

long ship

Credit for the pieces goes to the graphics department of the Musée de la Civilisation à Québec.