MapCarte 127/365: Iceland Illustrated by Borgarmynd, 2012


Click on the image to view online web map

Combining the artistry of a hand drawn map with a modern digital publishing approach may at first seem like some sort of paradox yet there is nothing that states a hand drawn map has to be on paper and a digital map has to be nodes and vertices. In fact, some of the most interesting cartography comes from combining techniques that at first sight might appear to be not particularly well suited to one another.

Iceland Illustrated, by Borgarmynd, have created a large 3D hand drawn terrain map of the country principally as a tourism related product. It is available as a printed map but they have also re-purposed it to provide the backdrop to an online web map. The map provides a beautifully rendered backdrop which is used to provide a base for the location of geotagged photographs of Iceland’s spectacular scenery with modern pictograms showing the locations. Compare the approach with the same areas on Google Maps illustrates the difference. Where Google shows us barren nothingness, Borgarmynd has detail, rock drawing, colour and features. Of course, Google’s approach has to be consistent globally…but when you’re mapping a specific place you can stretch your artistic license a little.


Click on the image to view online web map

The same approach has also been taken for their map of Reykjavik proving that you can easily transfer the same detailed, hand drawn watercoloured approach to a large scale environment and make it equally fit for purpose as the base for an online web map. Again, pictograms mark the locations of photographs and other points of interest. The only difference between the country and city level maps is the former is planimetric (with some plan oblique rendering of mountains) and the latter is an isometric drawing in greater detail.

A very successful marriage of old and new.