Map making is a romantic art, harkening back to an era of exciting new discoveries and mad adventure. Today, like many disciplines, cartography has developed roots tapping from its traditional design and craftsmanship into realms of modern technology and information gathering. It’s come a long way, and in the journey has picked up a vast array of cartographers with a thousand off-shooting interests.
In our search to remain connected to what people love about maps, we’ve come across five passionate blogs detailing those nooks and crannies of cartography that centuries of the art/science have created.
“The best playwright is a dead playwright”. Big Map Blog was created by a man who was desperately hunting for public domain maps and experienced immense difficulties reaching them through government websites. A modern day (legal) cartographic Robin Hood, ‘The King’ has extracted close to a thousand large format maps, free for the public to view and download. Now that’s passion.
At first glance, Radical Cartography looks like a blank page, populated by only a couple of links. Don’t be fooled, this site is a matryoshka doll of interesting maps, fueled by the complexity and beauty of human patterns. The projects are broken down by area (states, country, world), highlighting a variety of simulations ranging from demographic and housing patterns to more artistic abstractions of spatial connections. The beautiful part is that the cartography is crowd sourced, yet they all somehow weave together as if they were made by one person. Feeling adventurous? Add to the project!
Map making doesn’t have to be a lofty discipline – anybody should be able to do it, right? The creators of Making Maps seem to think so, and they’ve developed a DIY cartography resource blog to prove it. If you’ve ever been interested in dabbling in the world of map making but have been a bit intimidated by the scope of work and detail required to make it happen, take a look around. You may just discover the hidden cartographer in yourself. Make sure to check out their book, it is designed to pair with the blog.
The Phantom Island of Brazil? Atlases for the blind? Paintings on maps created by geolocated bicyclists? The world comes up with some really peculiar things, and the most peculiar map award goes to the Strange Maps blog over at Big Think. Made up of the stuff Ripley’s would die to have, you’ll find yourself immersed for hours as you chuckle and shake your head at the variety of craziness only a cartographer can cook up.
Care to take a look under GIS giant Esri’s hood? Then mosey on over to their GeoIQ blog where they write about features of their work on big data analytics, open platforms, and open data. Explore what they’re up to and join the conversation as they cover all sorts of geospatial data visualization topics.
Care to add to our list? What are we missing?