Category: Cartography

Map of the Netherlands made out of scrapwood, rotated 20 degrees anticlockwise, with next to it the Dutch lion as a recessed surface in the concrete of the wall

How to Crop a Country – The Netherlands in Scrapwood

The scrap wood map of the Netherlands is a good example of digital recycling. A map of the twelve provinces, made from old planks, slats, boxes, scaffolding wood, plywood, floorboards and similar scrap. But what is actually the most economical crop for that map? Advice Sometimes, when I get stuck during a design process, I ask the Facebook panel for advice. Social media is a blessing for the self-employed: since I no longer work in an open-plan office, I can not walk up to my colleagues anymore to ask them what they think. In those cases, I ask my friends… Read More

Map of the Netherlands with names of all 72 towns, villages and hamlets containing the word "berg" (mountain)

Mapping the Dutch Mountains

The Netherlands, as the name suggests, are as flat as a well-laid laminate floor. And yet in this country there are a lot of populated places with the word “berg” (mountain) in their name. I collected them all and put them on the Mountain Map of the Netherlands. Three Mountains “So where are those three mountains?” I wondered when I recently got out of the train at the railway station of Driebergen (meaning “three mountains). They were not there, of course. The nearby Utrechtse Heuvelrug (Utrecht Ridge) is at its highest point, the Amerongse Berg (Mount Amerongen), only 70 meters… Read More

Detail of the Rotterdam Water Map, shaped like rust patterns on the hull of a ship, zoomed in on the city center and the Kop van Zuid district

Rusty Rivers – the Rotterdam Water Map

On one of my photo tours through Rotterdam I went to Park Quay. At that location, not far from the inner city, often relatively large seagoing ships are moored. This time, one of those ships was in obvious need of some major maintenance. I made some pictures of it, including this one: Rust I can look at this kind of pictures for hours. A lot of things are happening here on a couple of square meters! The red paint on the ship’s hull is irregularly discolored into a wild palette of shades all the way to purple and pink. In… Read More

A mole's world view: a world map seen from below, mirrored, made in digital bronze

A Mole’s View: a Mirrored World Map in Digital Bronze

A few months ago I published a world map based on the perception of a penguin. A polar projection with Antarctica in the middle and the other continents grouped around it, some of them severely distorted. I do not intend to make a tour of the entire animal kingdom, but there was another species that asked for a cartographic interpretation: the mole. Talpa The mole (Talpa europaea) is a small subterraneously living mammal of the family of Talpidae. So now we know where media tycoon John de Mol, creator of The Voice, got the name for his company Talpa (you… 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. 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 world map People in… Read More

The inverted world map where land and sea have been swapped; continents are oceans, islands are lakes and the other way around, in colors inspired by NASA's Blue Marble imagery

The Inverted World Map – Variations on a Blue Marble

It probably happens to everyone who likes to look at maps. You imagine land to be water and water to be land. Continents to be oceans and and oceans to be continents. Islands to be lakes and lakes to be islands. An inverted world map. I could not resist the temptation to make a detailed map of such a topsy-turvy world. But I am not the first to do so. A little bit of googling yields a nice collection of inverted maps. Vladislav Gerasimov, for example, made a lovely styled fantasy map. And Chris Wajan on his Panetocopia website extensively… Read More

A room with world map Mars 2.0, showing the planet as it may look after terraforming, as decoration on the wall, while Mars rover Sojourner is driving around between the furniture

Mars 2.0 – Return to the Red, Green and Blue Planet

The terraforming of Mars is a fascinating subject. Is it possible to transform that lifeless desert planet into a living world with seas and jungles? Can some other colors, especially green and blue, be added to the Red Planet? In any case, now that we are dangerously warming our own planet, terraforming is no longer a theoretical concept. Mars Society Netherlands The Red Planet and I have a long history together. In 1999 I founded, together with Arno Wielders (currently involved in Mars One) the Dutch chapter of the Mars Society in a café in Leiden. In the first years… Read More

Orbital image of a terraformed Mars with the Northern ocean and the North Pole, Valles Marineris, Kasei Vallis, Arabia Terra and the Tharsis highlands, against a background of stars

Modified Mars Revisited

A few weeks ago I received an email from someone who asked my permission to use Modified Mars as a setting for a novel. Modified Mars is a project that I conceived eight years ago, and it’s about terraforming the world currently known as the Red Planet. Another Earth First a brief explanation for those who rarely or never read science fiction. Terraforming (literally earth formation) is the alteration of a planet in such a way that Earth organisms, including humans, can thrive there. Terraformers are especially interested in Mars for several reasons. The planet is not too big, not… Read More