Map Fancy

July 15, 2010 § 1 Comment

Dream job #34: Cartographer

While computers have made our lives “easier”, it’s safe to say that I still like things done the old-fashioned way: architecture renderings, snail mail, and maps. Nothing makes my heart more excited to travel than looking at an old, crusty map.

Anyone who has walked along the banks of the Seine in Paris leafing (“Puis-je feuilleter?“) through antique maps from the street vendors knows what I’m talking about. But it’s probably not the right time to invest $300 in something like that (yet!).

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been itching to begin some “map graphics” projects of my own. If it’s layered, hand-drawn, skewed, abstracted, or conceptual, I’m into it. This is just the inspiration I’ve been looking for.

One of my favorite map applications: using its layout to create a pattern:

This one is a more imaginative map from Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (He had bought a large map representing the sea/Without the least vestige of land:/And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be/A map they could all understand./“What’s the good of Mercator’s North Poles and Equators, Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?”/So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply/“They are merely conventional signs!/“Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!/But we’ve got our brave Captain to thank: / (So the crew would protest) “that he’s bought us the best — /A perfect and absolute blank!”)

A great example where nothing shows something:

An old Roman map of showing manner and details of streets without any practical information:

Old Czechoslovakian streets. Minimalist. Mod. Perfect.:

Painting of possibly the first map at Catal Huyuk, Turkey. At first it appears to be beautifully abstracted, but this city didn’t have any streets, so it’s actually accurate and I don’t see how this could have provided any navigation. :

(creds: MocoLoco, Ptak Science Books, Grain Edit)

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