Themed Book Lists

6 Books on Maps

Books on maps that our contributors have chosen

August 1, 2013

 These six books on maps, both real and imaginary, on paper and in pixels, come from our contributors’ book lists.

A Map of the World Robert Klanten Editor
Sven Ehmann Editor, et al.

From the Publisher. Maps help us understand and navigate the world. For centuries, maps have become better, more refined, and more precise—there are no blind spots anymore. While Google Maps and GPS systems have become our tools of choice for navigation, contemporary maps have evolved into platforms for cutting-edge illustration, experimental data visualization, and personal visual storytelling.

A Map of the World is a compelling collection of work by a new generation of original and sought-after designers, illustrators, and mapmakers. This work showcases specific regions, characterizes local scenes, generates moods, and tells stories beyond sheer navigation. From accurate and surprisingly detailed representations to personal, naïve, and modernistic interpretations, the featured projects from around the world range from maps and atlases inspired by classic forms to cartographic experiments and editorial illustrations.

Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas Denis Wood

From the Publisher. Iconoclastic geographer Denis Wood has created an atlas unlike any other. He surveys his small, century-old neighborhood in Raleigh, North Carolina by first paring away the inessential “map crap” (scale, orientation, street grids), then by locating the revelatory in the unmapped and unmappable: radio waves permeating the air, the paperboy’s route in space and time, the light cast by street lamps, Halloween pumpkins on porches.

His joyful subversion of the traditional notions of mapmaking forge new ways of seeing not only this particular place, but also the very nature of place itself. In pursuit of a “poetics of cartography,” Wood makes maps in which the experience of place is primary, and the eye is attuned to the invisible, the overlooked, and the seemingly insignificant.

Denis Wood’s four decades of work as a geographer and independent scholar has influenced the creative and activist spirit of a new generation of critical cartographers, experimental and psycho-geographers, ecologically and politically conscious landscape architects and designers. His most well-known book, The Power of Maps, began as an exhibition Wood curated for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum in 1992 (and remounted the following year at the Smithsonian). Wood has since written numerous books that critique and investigate the political and social implications of mapmaking.

Mapping Manhattan Becky Cooper
Foreword by Adam Gopnik

From the Publisher. Armed with hundreds of blank maps she had painstakingly printed by hand, Becky Cooper walked Manhattan from end to end. Along her journey she met police officers, homeless people, fashion models, and senior citizens who had lived in Manhattan all their lives. She asked the strangers to “map their Manhattan” and to mail the personalized maps back to her. Soon, her P.O. box was filled with a cartography of intimate narratives: past loves, lost homes, childhood memories, comical moments, and surprising confessions. A beautifully illustrated, PostSecret-style tribute to New York, Mapping Manhattan includes 75 maps from both anonymous mapmakers and notable New Yorkers, including Man on Wire aerialist Philippe Petit, New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov, Tony award-winning actor Harvey Fierstein, and many more.

Mapping in the Age of Digital Media Diana Balmori
Michael Silver

Drawn from presentations at the Yale School of Architecture Symposium on Digital Mapping held in 2002, this book explores new digital mapping technologies and techniques used to create images of both body and environment and their political and cultural implications.

Maps Paula Scher

From the Publisher. Collected for the first time, Maps presents 39 of the celebrated graphic designer's obsessively detailed, highly personal cartographic creations. Paintings as tall as 12 feet depict continents, countries, and cities swirling in torrents of information and undulating with colorful layers of hand-painted boundry lines, place names, and provocative cultural commentary. Read Author Q&A with Designers & Books.

Pictorial Maps Nigel Holmes

Discusses the history of pictorial maps and their use in newspapers, magazines, and television reporting and explains the mapmaking process

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