Beyond Parcel, Sewer, and Road Maps

As I traveled this past week to the Seattle area to visit a client, I had a four hour plane ride ahead of me. I don’t have a commute, so I tend to fall really behind on my podcasts, but as I flipped through my choices, I saw one that I simply had to listen to: Mapping on This America Life. Most C3D users spend so much time wrapped up in the minutiae of land development and our view of the world, that we often don’t even think about the other maps out there. Maybe some were made with software like we use, but a lot of maps are so specific, and so unusual, that they simply make you think, “What is a map?” The first “act” was based on sight, and my favorite of the bunch. Read more after the jump.

The Power of Maps was written by Denis Wood in 1992 to pair with an exhibit at the NYC’s Cooper-Hewitt Museum. In the podcast, Mr. Wood discusses a series of maps he’s created with team of friends in his neighborhood that reflect things we might or might not think about as engineers and designers. Here are some of the maps, but go listen to the podcast to hear some more of his insight, and thoughts on how the mapmaker can overwhelm or perfectly slice information into perfect pieces.

My favorite is this map, showing pumpkins on various homes as Halloween approached. Certainly tells me where I’d go trick-or-treating with my kids!


You can check out more of Mr. Wood’s maps on his flickr stream.

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