Long before satellite imagery and aerial photography, cartographers had to imagine the landscape and explore different ways of representing the world. Hatsusaburo Yoshida trained as a textile designer but is well known for his spectacular birds eye view maps, produced in the early to mid 1900s.
His work was informed by tireless local surveys which included not only measurements of the landscape but meetings with local people to gain a sense of what’s important to an area. This provided a way of developing a sense of what to include or omit on the map.
Yoshida’s maps are vibrant and colourful. They sow mountains as key features represented almost in aspect while much of the other detail is presented in perspective. There’s an abstract feel to the symbology and the clean lines used to represent real world features yet he manages to maintain a certain realism to the portrayal. The textual components use a billboard technique that lifts labels off the map which is a clever technique for this style of mapping. His skies and clear, cloudless sunsets illuminate the map to give it a crystal clear depiction unencumbered by haze or clouds.
Beautiful hand drawn maps showing the very best of design and representation. More examples of Yoshida’s work can be seen here.