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Cartography Books

Five cartography books you’ll definitely want to see


These five exquisite books explore the history of maps and cartography, from Ptolemy to the Internet.

Very few art forms have been a source of astonishment as maps have been. They are a language in themselves, one which uses the most meticulous observation, as well as the most elevated imagination. When we visualize the world we are unable to see is a way of understanding the general narrative of the happenings in the world. We now present you with five books that explore the science of cartography in five different angles. Enjoy.

Map As Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography

This book presents the current panorama of cartography. It features 360 creations by a series of artists, both renowned and emerging, including Maria Kalman, Paula Scher and Olafur Eliasson. Complementing the maps are essays by Gayle Clemans, which add an interesting perception of each of the artists’ creative processes.

You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination

This beautiful compilation of maps and thoughts on maps explores, vastly, the human condition. The book contains fifty coloured and fifty black and white illustrations that range from a humorous diplomatic map of Europe and Asia, to a canine vision of the world. A collection of essays contextualise each map within a conceptual narrative that explores the human compulsion to map our place in the universe.

Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities

Based on an excellent blog with the same name, this volume contains 138 of the best and most arresting maps the blog has published over the past three years. Its main concern is compiling small treasures that map parts of a forgotten world or that are unknown. Ranging from the world depicted in Orwell’s 1984 to a colored map of Thomas Moore’s Utopia. The book is full of invaluable anecdotes of our collective conception of the world through centuries.

Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline

This book outlines the history of the graphic time representations of Europe and the United States since 1450 and to this day. The splendidly illustrated collection presents the timelines of Middle Age manuscripts, and as if it were also a timeline, it explores blogs and Internet websites.

Maps of the Imagination: The writer as Cartographer

This alludes to the fascinating manner in which maps are actually visual narratives. Peter Turchi explores how some of the greatest narrators of literary history used maps as narrative devices, revealing notable similarities between cartography, traditionally perceived as an analytical science and the art of writing fictions. From Melville to Nabokov or Stevenson, the book presents hundreds of extraordinary illustrations about iconic literary works.

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