Category: Cartography

Work in progress by the author on a digital graffiti world map on a wall of ten by five metres

Graffiti and Coffee Beans: Two New World Maps

What do graffiti and coffee have in common? Not much, I suspect, except that the average street artist will occasionally drink an espresso or latte. And that they both formed the inspiration for a world map. Cartograffiti More or less at the same time, I finished the work on the World Map Graffiti and the World Map Coffee Beans. They’re two maps with a totally different look and feel, and created in rather different ways. They have, however, one thing in common: when I started, I expected to finish them in one or two days, but it took weeks before… Read More

Perspective image of a world map made of 30.000 mosaic tiles, zooming in on North America, with the other continents in the distance distance.

Mosaic tiles and peeling paint: three special world maps

Does it happen to everyone or only to map-o-philes like me? You see a ship hull with rust stains or an old wall with peeling paint and you think, hey, that looks like a map. Oceans, continents, mountain ranges, archipelagos, with a little imagination, you can discover a complete fantasy world on such a weathered surface. Okay, most people will pass by without noticing. But for those who want to see it, there is a lot to enjoy. Peeling world map I decided to turn it around and created an image on which peeling paint patterns really shape the continents of… Read More

A world map according to the Antarctic or Penguin projection, with the southpole in the middle and increasingly dramatic distortions towards the north

The Antarctic Projection: a Penguin’s World Map

For us humans, a world map centered around the South Pole doesn’t make much sense. But for a penguin cartographer, such an Antarctic projection is the only way to go. It shows how much a world map tells about the person who has made it, or about the market it is made for. Europe in the middle Here in Europe, we think it’s only logical to place the edge of the map in the Bering Strait and the Pacific. After all, there is almost nobody living there and besides: this way we put ourselves nicely in the middle. The Amero-centric… Read More

Downtown rotterdam between central station and the river and between Claes de Vrieselaan and Mariniersweg; fragment of a map of Rotterdam with all city blocks as glass in 15 different colors

The Glass Map of Rotterdam: a plan in fifteen colors

Wow! That must have been a hell of a job … Cutting all those pieces of colored glass, exactly the right size and shape. And then carefully arranging them on a steel plate to create a colorful map of Rotterdam. Digital glass No, fortunately these days we have software to simulate things like that digitally. This glass map of Rotterdam was made using an AutoCAD file of the city’s building blocks. In 3ds Max, I added some irregularity to make it look not too computerized. Then I, totally randomly, assigned to each block one of fifteen different colors of glass.… Read More

World map inspired by cubism, showing our planet as a complex system of shapes, colors and lines

A Cubist World Map

No, you better not try to find your hometown or even your country on this cubist world map. Borders, cities, walls and other human constructs are not recognizable in this explosion of colors, shapes and lines. Polygons and blending modes The map was made in Photoshop by overlaying quite a few layers. I made those layers using the filter crystallize, which subdivides an image into polygons in an entirely arbitrary way. I also made a layer of squares that coincide with latitudes and longitudes. After that I generated line drawings from the edges of all those shapes. Eventually I put… Read More

Fragment of the double street map of Rotterdam which compares the streets, blocks and harbours of the city in 1939 and 2014

Rotterdam: a Tale of Two Cities

Anyone who studies a street map of Rotterdam before 1940 gets confused. Rotterdammers today would have a hard time finding their way in that pre-war city. Not only the buildings are different, also the street plan has changed beyond recognition. There are in fact two different cities. Those two cities share the same location but are separated by time. With a breaking point at the day of the bombing: May 14, 1940. Of course, other cities have also changed enormously since, say, the 1930s. But nowhere are the differences as dramatic as in Rotterdam. The destruction of the street plan Not… Read More