Map author in Cartography

Review of Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities

Book by Frank Jacobs

Review by Eva Dodsworth, University of Waterloo

Review of Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities


Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities is the print version of a selection of maps collected by Frank Jacobs and posted on his Strange Maps blog. The blog has approximately 500 maps with corresponding descriptions and comments, of which 138 have been selected and published in the atlas.

Unlike traditional geographic and thematic atlases, Strange Maps is comprised of unordinary, remarkable, and eccentric maps that span several centuries, continents, and themes. Accompanying every map is a carefully written description of not only the map itself, but a thorough discussion of the map’s purpose, the atlas author’s interpretation of it, and his remarks on any historical, political, literary and/or geographical influences and contributions that the map may have had in its creation. It is clear that the author has researched many aspects of the maps, providing between one to two pages of insightful descriptions for each of the “cartographic curiosities.”

The author describes his anthology of maps as an anti-atlas, where the maps are clearly not to be used for navigational purposes. It quickly becomes obvious that this atlas is a collection of rare maps that fall under their own category of “light-hearted and strange”; it is filled with cartographic misconceptions, fictitious creations, artistic renditions, humorous works, propaganda, and bias.

The atlas is divided into 18 thematic sections: Cartographic Misconceptions, Literary Creations, Artography, Zoomorphic Maps, (Political) Parody, Maps as Propaganda, Obscure Proposals, Ephemeral States, Strange Borders, Exclaves and Enclaves, A Matter of Perspective, Iconic Manhattan, Linguistic Cartography, Based on the Underground, Fantastic Maps, Cartographs and other Data Maps, Maps from Outer Space, and Whatchamacallit. There are between four and 11 maps for each category, almost all available in color. Essentially every second page features a map, with its description available either on the same or the opposite page, depending on the map size. Examples of some of the types of maps found in this atlas include:

Literary Creations: Many literary works include maps of fictitious places and settings. Frank Jacobs included a few of these maps; for instance, Thomas More’s fictional island of Utopia, situated in the Americas, and The Land of Oz from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Frank Jacobs’ descriptions of the literary maps include a summary of the story, description of the details seen on the maps, and a discussion of why the cartographer/artist may have drawn things the way he did.

I loves me some maps, Taz

by Sparky_The_Jayhawk

... thanks for the post.
I've seen some of these before. Some are nice, others, meh, and some I'm going to need to research more because the sources seem a little sketchy.
I'm currently reading a book about maps called "On The Map." So far it's mostly been about early history of cartography. As far as readability, it's kind of like reading a newspaper (which makes sense as the author is a NY Times columnist), and it is informative, but a bit dry.

Random House Books for Young Readers There's a Map on My Lap!: All About Maps (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
Book (Random House Books for Young Readers)

7 Game of Thrones Apps That Will Get You Through the Much-awaited Winter  — Gizmodo India
.. or Winterfell, you get a dialog box, which asks you to buy more maps. Unfortunately, you can't dismiss the dialogue box, leading to the obstruction of the cartography. ..

Flagstaff's rocky lava field became a little piece of the moon  — azcentral
If American know-how could put a man on the moon, the man should bring back rocks to study. The government agreed, and in 1963, the .. Volcanoes were chosen because of the moon's volcanic history, the test site for its impact craters.

Princeton Architectural Press You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination
Book (Princeton Architectural Press)

Missing in Alaska without a trace  — Anchorage Daily News
The official version of events, according to a still active missing person's bulletin from the Alaska State Troopers is that Griffis went into the wild "to test out a survival 'cocoon' that he had invented.

Johns Hopkins University Press The New Nature of Maps: Essays in the History of Cartography
Book (Johns Hopkins University Press)
British Library London: A History in Maps (London Topographical Society Publication)
Book (British Library)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
Vintage History 1880 map: Fortification, Ohio, Cuyahoga Falls Army camp at Gaylords Grove, Cuyah
Home (Vintage History)
  • 1880 map Army camp at Gaylords Grove, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio / drawn by A. Ruger ¿ Ohio ; Beck & Pauli Lith., Milwaukee, Wis. Birds eye view. Probably drawn...
  • Map size: 2 foot x 18 inches
  • Beautiful and Rare Historic Map
  • Archival Quality Reproduction

Popular Q&A

What is the importance of a bias cartography map?

All maps, Cartography maps included are generally made best when without bias. The importance of bias however, would be to reflect on the past views of how people saw the world we see today. !

What is the difference between mapping and cartography?

Cartography is a more formal term for mapping and would imply a serious, scientific approach to mapping.

What does it mean by "whole-brain approach" paradigm that has been used in GIS Cartography map making?

I have not heard that terminology before, but I would guess it relates to cartography being both an art and science. A cartographer needs to be able to make accurate maps but that also look good and are easy to read.

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