Randomness in map design
March 19, 2014 12:36 PM   Subscribe

"I introduced an element of randomness into a recent map design. Misplaced buildings and overlapping areas of texture bring energy and excitement to the experience of viewing a map. The end result is a little disorienting, but still mostly familiar."
posted by moonmilk (19 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

Fun! With the halftone image style it looks like it was offset printed with alignment mistakes.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:40 PM on March 19

Yeah, and the textures make me think of Eric Carle. The Very Hungry Cartographer?
posted by moonmilk at 12:44 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]

it looks like the generic artwork on the walls of corporate coffee shops
posted by rebent at 12:47 PM on March 19 [10 favorites]

it looks like the generic artwork on the walls of corporate coffee shops

Good pop!
posted by ReeMonster at 12:49 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]

"Yeah, whatcha gonna wanna do is drive on over to the Single-Family Industrial Park on your map, them take a left on Trap Street."
posted by infinitewindow at 12:53 PM on March 19

I wish he'd introduce a better font into his maps. Missing glyphs in the HCMC one kill me (Nguyễn Huệ, Lê Lợi).
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:56 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]

it looks like the generic artwork on the walls of corporate coffee shops

But it's still a (mostly) functional map, at least at the macro scale. And some of those images are too chaotic for a corporate coffee shop, like Gorzow-Wielkopolski, Poland and Queensland, Australia. The other clippings are weird, but still passive/peaceful enough to not cause anxiety in the caffeinated customers.

Perhaps if the tones weren't so bland, it would seem less like generic "weird pop art."

Fun fact: if you want to make your own triptych by zooming out far enough that there are three projections side-by-side.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:01 PM on March 19

Situationist paperback book cover -o-matic
posted by idiopath at 1:06 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]

it looks like the generic artwork on the walls of corporate coffee shops

Then again, those aren't zoomable down to your neighborhood scale.
posted by yoink at 1:07 PM on March 19

Well, that's interesting. I never knew I lived so close to IlIIlmLmgLyImLmL, yImLymLmgLml or IlIlmgLmLmgLmgLIlIlmgLIlmgL, or rather I thought they had names like "Langdon".
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:22 PM on March 19

Yeah, the pixel font is so 2002
posted by scose at 1:41 PM on March 19

I am a lifelong New Englander and today I learned the "Gulf of Maine" apparently exists. wtf
posted by threeants at 1:42 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]

"All mapmakers should place the Mississippi in the same location and avoid originality. It may be boring, but one has to know where it is." -- Saul Bellow
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:01 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]

"In that Empire, the Art of Cartography reached such Perfection that the map of one Province alone took up the whole of a City..."

I think accuracy in maps is sometimes a comforting illusion. I really enjoyed this - thank you moonmilk!
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:31 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]

I found these yesterday, and I think they're beautiful. But what impressed me more was the power available to us cartographers / GIS people to create interesting stuff like this, now, using tools like Tilemill, Mapbox and CartoDB. Web mapping is really driving ahead, at the moment.
posted by Jimbob at 3:18 PM on March 19

Slightly more useful: watercolor map
posted by Tom-B at 5:28 PM on March 19

This is so much more interesting and cool than I expected it could be. Thanks moonmilk.
posted by Night_owl at 9:23 PM on March 19

Why would you describe a map as disorienting? It seems to turn the whole exercise into chindōgu.

"The map is not the territory," indeed, but this is ridiculous.
posted by Appropriate Username at 10:42 AM on March 20

I don't think this was intended, but if you know the etymology of disorient and the fact that maps used to be made centuries ago with east at the top, it actually is pretty funny to hear maps described this way.

I'll be over here with my plate of beans for lunch.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:34 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]

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