A Guide to Unusual Maps on the Web

by Bill Thoen

Humans map all sorts of things; not just geography. In many ways, humans express themselves in the most interesting ways through the cartographic metaphor, and this was the subject of my GEO World GIS Online column for August 1999. Below is the list of URLs from that article to some of the more interesting maps online.

Important Mapping Hub sites

History of Cartography Gateway
Best place on the net for this topic.
Odden's Bookmarks

Over 1100 links to all sorts of mapping-related resources. (note: this link changed in Sep 1999.)

Cartographic Misconceptions

The Fool's World Map
The world as seen through the geographic misconceptions of the people.
T-O Map, 11th century
From collection of map images at Cartographic Images at http://www.iag.net/~jsiebold/carto.html
Daniel's Dream
Based on the prophecy from Chapter 7 of the book of Daniel, which speaks of "the four winds of the heaven...and four great beasts [which] came up from the sea." (full description at http://www.library.yale.edu/MapColl/special.html.)

Alternate Geography

NEU-YORK is an obsessively detailed alternate-history map, imagining how Manhattan might have looked had the Nazis conquered it in World War II.
The Flat-out Truth (Flat World Society)
A 1980 article by Robert J. Schadewald printed in Science Digest explores the story of the International Flat Earth Society and its founder and president, Charles K. Johnson. The background image on the page shows the map that the society believes represents the flat world (incidentally it is the same one used by the UN in their seal).
Society for Creative Anachronism
The Society for Creative Anachronism. Follow the links to "Geography" And then to the Map of the Knowne Worlde to see today's in the High Middle Ages.

Mapping Amusement

http://www.larryhatch.net/ UFO sighting maps and statistics. Dates range from recent to ancient times. Foo fighters, ghost rockets, flying saucers, disks, cones, domes, wheels, spheres, probes, deltoids, flying triangles, cylinders; boomerang, lens and hamburger shapes; landings, robots and even humanoid occupants are reported. Sighting waves from 1947, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1973 etc. are mapped and graphed.
The Geography Joke Page
Karen Mulcahy's Map Projection Amusement page
http://www.geo.hunter.cuny.edu/mp/amuse.html Here's a good site to point your kids to on a rainy day. Contains kits you can download or buy inexpensively to build odd "globes". Also has some nice cordiform (heart shaped) map images for valentine's day, and for the truly bored or expert cartophiles, a "guess the projection" contest.
Caricature Map of Ireland
Caricatures of people in the shape of the map of Ireland For maps like this of Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Prussia, Spain/Portugal, Scotland, and Wales, see http://www.library.yale.edu/MapColl/special.html

Maps of the Imagination, Stories and Games

Les Cites Obscures
A strange sort of journey-space, reminiscent of the game Myst, in which the traveler crosses through an unusual geography. Follow the links and maps into a land of myth and mystery in Brussels and France. Use Babelfish (http://babelfish.altavista.digital.com/cgi-bin/translate?) to translate unless you can read French.
Princess Nanda's Map of Oz

Maps of Life, Love, Marriage, and the Soul

Ecotone: Where Natural History Meets Personal History
A very interesting site where you can learn how to "map" your personal history or create a personal compass rose and use them to navigate and explore the strange and uncharted Mappa Mundi of your inner geography.
The Paths of Life
Shows the potential routes from "Parental Care Hall" to "Happy Old Age Hall" or for those who choose poorly, there's "Despair Gulph" and the "Bottomless Pit."

Mapping New "Geographies"

TeleGeography, Inc.
From the web page: "The old geography of countries and coast lines is giving way to a new geography marked by telephone codes, satellite 'foot prints' and Internet addresses. Electronic networks have made the world smaller. But they also have created countless new places where people work and play. This expanding electronic terrain -- call it telegeography -- demands a new cartography."
Geography of Cyberspace
Another view of the new cartography.