MapCarte 163/365: The Feltron 2008 atlas, 2008

MapCarte163_feltronPersonal geographies are becoming big business. In cartographic terms we’ve seen massive increases in maps derived from social media, personal monitoring, geotagged photographs and just about anything else our various devices capture and record. Many of the maps we see, though, are not much more than data dumps…points placed on a map with very little cartographic work undertaken to extract, ascribe and communicate some salient, useful information. In short, we rarely see any thought put into maps made of personal data.

This atlas is an altogether different piece of personal mapping. Since 2005 Nicholas Felton has kept track of his life in every conceivable way. He publishes an annual report that paints a rich picture of all of this which has become both intriguing but also a model for information design and presentation with carefully crafted maps and graphs. His annual works contain numerous expertly produced maps and each year showcases a different design ethos but the 2008 edition stands out cartographically.

The poster for his 2008 edition is reminiscent of Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion world map. The graphic shows a collage of his travels from the year in greyscale with only lime green as a contrasting colour to pick out key aspects. The 13 maps in equilateral triangles provides a unique portrait and a convenient use of the projection metaphor. You can cut the map out and fold it into a polyhedra with each face showing a different destination and story. The timeline provides additional details along with annotated highlights. The pages inside the atlas include even more maps and graphics.

Felton’s reports (including 2008) can be viewed on his web site here.

MapCarte 162/365: An American Watershed by John Grimwade, 2003

MapCarte162_grimwadeMany maps are designed for multiple purposes and, increasingly, basemaps and other core maps that sit behind thematic overlays are designed with flexibility in mind. However, they are rarely designed for the specific task in hand and that can often result in a compromise between the graphical structure, colour and typography of the basemap and whatever someone else is placing atop.

One-off maps don’t suffer these potential problems from a cartographic design perspective. The map-maker can literally begin with a blank canvas and design the whole range of information to act harmoniously. Here, John Grimwade has created a beautiful medium scale map of the Everglades in Florida CA used in a Condé Nast Traveler magazine article. His use of colour is particularly impressive because with an extremely limited pallete he’s managed to imbue the map with rich detail and character. He uses white linework to great effect and dark greys and a rusty red for accents and hierarchy. The composition works well with clear insets and a graphic at the foot of the page that explains the ecology in cross-section.

One-off maps have the scope to be more attuned to the cartographic task in hand rather than relying on the hit-and-miss of mashing up a map using third-party maps. Done well they can provide delightful single-purpose maps.

More of John Grimwade’s excellent work on his web site here.