Creative maps, drawn by hand


The use of maps in newsrooms is now much easier than it was just a few years ago. Multiple platforms and libraries allow for visualizing almost any place and region. There is one challenge: More often than not the maps will look the same. To make maps more interesting, a variety of visual options would be great. Enter "Project Linework".

"I want lifework like typefaces", says cartographer Daniel Huffman.

Much like an 'M' can change it’s shape based on the choosen type set, lines in maps can express a certain style, focus or tell a story. This is why Huffman started a new project called  "Project Linework", where he and some colleagues experiment with hand-drawn map lines, with different shapes providing room for focus, expression and visual difference.

Quote: "…the power of cartography (and its purpose) is that it’s not realistic. It’s highly abstracted and generalized, and reality went out the window once we decided to show a road as being red and give it a stroke width that makes it look hundreds of miles wide, or to replace a city with a black circle. We stylize so many other things on maps, but playing around with the actual shapes of states, islands, or roads, is uncommon."

Currently there are three initial examples on the website. The current files can be downloaded for free, in four different file types: Shapefile, Geojson, Topojson and Adobe Illustrator. There is a GitHub site, too.

If you are interested in more background about creative mapping, read this post.

Beyond "Project Linework", a good example of how to use maps in a creative way is: "Utopian Africa", by  Philippe Rekacewicz. Another, well known example using combination and comparison would be "The True Size of Africa", created by Kai Krause.

Link: http://www.projectlinework.org