MapCarte 185/365: Mt. Hood by Kelly Abplanalp, 2013



Hachuring has been a very successful technique for the depiction of relief over the centuries yet it suffers from the problem that it requires a lot of space on the map. It can have the effect of causing visual clutter and a very dark image despite it’s excellent relief portrayal.

If you base your entire map on a modified hachure then you will really limit your space for any other detail but this can result  in some surprising results. Kelly Abplanalp has used a heavy hachure effect with large strokes for her map of Mt Hood. The subject lends itself to the technique due to the overall shape and the variation in terrain across relatively short distances. There’s an almost feathered effect created by the different densities of stroke and the major terrain changes can be easily identified.

This is more art than a map though it creates a strong aesthetic and a very bold impression. It demonstrates how you can take a cartographic technique and explore its potential for artistic interpretation. The inset map is a nice touch, being designed using similar stroke patterns and a brevity of labelling and other contextual detail ensures the main map image is clear and visually imposing. The red linework adds a pleasing contrast and accent colour.