Two Books On Mapping

The collective interest in data and diagrams of data seems to have grown enormously over the last years. The world of infographics and data porn tends to become a trendy new subculture led by blogs such as Fuck Yeah Cartography, Information Aesthetics, and Information Is Beautiful. This whole new focus on data and information seems to be a result of the digitalization of social and information networks. Data collected form all over the world becomes very easily accessible due to intiatives like Survey Mapper, and at the same time computers make it very easy to analyze data and make pretty graphics and maps out of it. To the contrary, far before the data hype unleashed by the digital age, people spent lots of energy in making the most exceptional maps by hand. Cartography used to be the work of a small group very specialist artists executing their job with an overwhelming amount of patience and dedication.

Princeton Architectural Press published two books about the art of hand drawn maps. The first is the pocket ‘From Here to Here’ from Kris Harzinski. The book is claimed to be a curious collection with material from the Hand Drawn Map Association, founded by Harzinski himself. It focuses on the doodle-like maps, as made in a notebook or on the backflip of an envelope. Drawings of the everyday, as always been made by almost everyone to explain a simple route or spatial situation. The book celebrates these ephemeral documents – usually forgotten or tossed after having served their purpose – and gives them their due as everyday artifacts. The document includes more than 140 hand drawn maps, which vary from simple directions to maps of fictional locations, found maps, and maps of unusual places. Also the range of map makers is impressive — the book contains material from Abraham Lincoln to Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton and our Dutch rising star Jan Rothuizen, the man behind the Soft Atlas of Amsterdam. ‘From Here to There’ features an impressive hand-drawn documentary interior map of the famous Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Below is another example of Rothuizen’s work — a plan of a supermarket in the West of the Dutch capital:

Also published by Princeton Architectural Press is another more historical celebration on mapping. In ‘Cartographies of Time: a History of the Timeline’ authors Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton dig into the history timeline design, going from the chronological representation of monarchical revolutions to the history of the meter. ‘Cartographies of Time’ is the first comprehensive history of graphic representation of time in Europe and the United States. For ages, the linear form has been used to explain things happening before or after each other. This book, which contains a lot of beautiful images of time lines (from 1450 to the present), provides an intelligent understanding of map making patterns and ideas. Both authors have crafted a lively history featuring fanciful characters and unexpected twists and turns, and emphasize the role of visual forms in our evolving conception of history. Besides all the infographics passing our route every day, both books provide an interesting new perspective on translating information into visual forms.

From Here to There: A Curious Collection from the Hand Drawn Map Association
Kris Harzinski
Published by Princeton Architectural Press, New York City
224 pages
ISBN: 9781568988825
Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline
Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton
Published by Princeton Architectural Press, New York City
272 pages
ISBN:  9781568987637

Click here to order ‘From Here to There’, and click here to order ‘Cartographies of Time’.