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Data Exhaust — A Brief History of Null Island

A Brief History of Null Island

Following the awesome shirts that Ian Cairns and GNIP made for Null Island several folks have been asking where the idea came from.  My introduction to Null Island was when we were doing work with Stamen to build a custom set of base tiles for thematic mapping in GeoCommons.  As a surprise Mike Migurski added Null Island to the base maps so all our bad data would have a place to go.


Talking to Mike recently he said the original creator of Null Island was Steve Pellegrin of Tableau to describe “data goofs”.  Other interesting trivia about Null Island is the islands contours come from the island in the video game Myst.

After seeing the awesomeness Mike had added to the Acetate maps Kate Chapman had the perfect idea - make Null Island t-shirts for SXSW.  Nathaniel Kelso did a second version while he was at Stamen.  Now we have the third version thanks to Ian.  There is also @NullIsland Twitter account and even a Republic of Null Island website by the originator of the name!  If I’ve missed any bits in Null Islands short but growing history please add on.  

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