At first glance, Imus’ “The Essential Geography of the United States of America” may look like any other U.S. wall map. It’s about 4 feet by 3 feet. It uses a standard, two-dimensional conic projection. It has place names. Political boundaries. Lakes, rivers, highways.
Imus map of the United States.
So what makes this map different from the ? Or from the dusty National Geographic pull-down mounted in your child’s elementary school classroom? Can one paper wall map really outshine all others—so definitively that it becomes award-worthy?
I’m here to tell you it can. This is a masterful map. And the secret is in its careful attention to design.
These days, almost all the data cartographers use is provided by the government and is freely available in the public domain. Anybody can download databases of highways, airports, and cities, and then slap a crude map together with the aid of a plotter. What separates a great map from a terrible one is choosing which data to use and how best to present it.
Piri Reis map
The Piri Reis map dated 1513 and it is the first surviving map that shows the Americas. The Piri Reis map shows the western coast of Africa, the eastern coast of South America, and the northern coast of Antarctica. The northern coastline of Antarctica is perfectly detailed. The most puzzling however is not so much how Piri Reis managed to draw such an accurate map of the Antarctic region 300 years before it was discovered, but that the map shows the coastline under the ice.
The Piri Reis map was made by a Turkish Admiral Piri Ibn Haji Mehmed. Reis means admiral. His passion was cartography