Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration

Loveland Heart Map

February 4th, 2016

I whipped this up the other day in response to a suggestion by @williamscraigm. Ever on the look-out for map themed gift ideas, I had found an Etsy shop that was selling little heart-map cupcake picks and tweeted about it. Craig suggested they must be maps of Loveland, CO. Well, they weren’t, so I made one for anybody who wants to print them out and make cupcake toppers of your own this Valentine’s Day.

LovelandMapHeart

Let me know if you want the SVG file.

Friday Roundup*

August 10th, 2014

*Written on Sunday. Because I can.

  • Jennifer Davey’s Fort Collins Art Map is on display at the Fort Collins Museum of Art until September 28. It’s an aerial painting of Fort Collins, painted on tiles (yes, literally, tiles). There’s a nifty “making of” video here. I was fortunate to be out on the town with Angel Kwiatkowski–Cohere owner and map-tile idea maker herself–the other night and got to see it in person:FCmaptiles
  • Seeing and experiencing new works of art is always inspiring for map makers, and if you’re into Chihuli, you’ll love the Denver Botanic Gardens’ exhibition that goes on from now until November 30, 2014. The gardens are of course amazing, and adding in bold-colored Chihuli glass just makes them amazing-er. Interspersed with the grape vines laden with fruit, the xeriscape path, and the Japanese Bonsai are: a boat filled to the brim with blue and purple party shapes, a stream boasting light blue glass bubbles, a pink and white polka-dotted “tree” at the end of an allée, and red non-menacing spears peaking out from afar, among others. Lessons for map making? Color groups please viewers, never underestimate the value of a sensational centerpiece idea, and provide your data in context. Also, I might add that I actually used a paper map of the gardens the two days I visited. Paper!chihuli
  • The other day I was very surprised to get a box from Dave Imus ( I think you’ll remember him as the creator of The Greatest Paper Map of The United States You’ll Ever See) and completely touched to find in it a framed print of his beautiful Chesapeake Bay Watershed map. It’s so good that I’m replacing the Maroon Bells aspen-tree hiking photo in my office with the Imus map. And that’s saying a lot. Thanks Dave, it will provide inspiration for many years to come!imus

Inflatable Globes, and Other Similar Items

October 2nd, 2012

Yesterday I was looking for fall foliage data* and today I’m looking into inflatable globes and other weird different globe products. Truly, I would never claim that my job is boring. I figure you’ll be just as interested in this great new research topic as I am. Here are a few of the finds:

 


$13.95, grapefruit sized
The description says that this moon globe has a sense of humor, but it really has a sense of mystery, since we can’t see it clearly in the picture.



$21.95, no size info
This looks fun, and is an example of the four color theorem!



$1.24, 16″
I really wanted to like this one because it is so cheap, but unfortunately the reviews warn that the colors on the actual product are much uglier than they appear in the picture. Moving on.



$6.87, 12″
Definitely a contender as a contest prize for my upcoming cartography workshop. It’s also one of the more popular ones on Amazon.



$37.00, 36″
Another contender. Nice colors.


$4.65, 22″

This is a balloon that I assume you fill with helium. The colors look fantastic. We won’t quibble on the spatial inaccuracies.



$A lot, 576″
Yes, it is actually an inflatable globe! David Byrne’s High Line Globe.



*In-progress

Topographic Map of America, 1884

September 12th, 2012

This 1884 relief map of America is being sold at the New Hampshire antique store Mill Goods. Not only is it a unique shape, it’s quite large too: 4′ high by 6′ 4″ at its widest point.* The cartographer is Edwin E. Howell, a USGS Geologist who made many—at least 56—relief maps, though this is the only one I can find in this odd shape. It’s made of painted plaster and surrounded with a wood frame.

I’m sort of wishing I could be pouring plaster right now, instead of mocking up a webmap in Balsamiq. Maybe my webmap client would enjoy a plaster mockup instead?!

On a non-related note, if anyone has advice regarding the use of Google Web Fonts in IE 7 and 8, could you let me know? I’ve heard they are rendering incorrectly but am unsure if that’s just for bold and/or italic variants.

*That’s got to be heavy.

Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration