MapCarte 167/365: Dry well-bores by Torgeir Husevaag, 2005


Most maps are designed to show something that people want to know. Some are designed to show people what they might prefer not to know. This isn’t necessarily negative cartography but it’s often an uneasy way of looking at the world.

After some 50 years of successful oil exploration and drilling in the North Sea which has supported the Norwegian economy,┬áTorgeir Husevaag paints a picture of all the futile test-drillings, literally. His hand-drawn approach lends a certain human exposure to the highly scientific approach of the drillings themselves. It’s an almost paradoxical way of representing the subject matter which would more usually be seen through engineer’s plans and charts using sterile, heavily specified symbols and linework.


The 150 or so dry bores are numbered and linked to show them in sequence. There’s no particular need for this and the lines don’t actually exist but by showing them in this manner he creates a richer story. It explains the perhaps haphazard, unscientific search akin to looking for a needle in a haystack.

This is an alternative history told through a sequence of maps. The illustrations are well produced and the unconventional symbology a rich metaphor for the futility of the endless search for black gold.

More at Husevaag’s web site here.