Mapping Art

Downtown San Francisco via Stamen Design / HERE

Downtown San Francisco via Stamen Design / HERE

Maps are fickle things. Drawn and redrawn, created as a part of exploration or conflict, subject to interpretation. As Simon Garfield says, they “relate and realign our history”. They’ve always been the subject of artistic invention, as well. What’s left out of a map is as important as what’s in plain sight.

It used to be a mark of honor to be a good map reader. I know I was always proud of being able to follow lines and colors on flat piece of paper to chart my own path through a new place, to relate what I was seeing on the ground with what someone else considered worthy of recording on a map. These days, virtual maps are big data repositories that tell us (almost) everything we want to know, some things we don’t, and take us where we ask to go without much effort.

A new mapping system developed by Stamen Design for Nokia helps users cross the lines between finding a location and artistic exploration. I’m assuming that as more data is added, more developers will add to the options, and more doors will open.

HERE at Stamen Design

Fastcodesign article

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