For many of us, cartography day in geography or history class meant a quick nap. With our eyes open, we’d dream of all the delicious stuff we were gonna eat after school, of music we’d play on the Walkman, of a message we received the other day from that cutie…
To bring back our long-lost excitement for hard pieces of data, aka maps, plans, and geographic drawings, we're gonna need to start from the very best of them. Luckily, there’s a whole online community on Reddit dedicated to the most unusual charts of geographic areas that took maps to a whole new level.
From mapping "October" in European languages to mapping an eagle’s track over a period of twenty years, these incredible examples will surely put the world into a completely new perspective.
Who knows, you may well unleash your inner cartographer and become among 1.1 million like-minded members of the maps subreddit. In that case, you may need some more cartographical goodness with 41 maps that portray lesser-known facts about America.
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To find out more about this amusing Reddit community by the name r/MapP**n, Bored Panda reached out to its creator Patrick McGranaghan, who started the subreddit in 2011 while living in Taiwan.
Patrick said he has always been a map geek: “I wanted people to share those maps so that they are easy to find and discuss.”
It turns out, he works as a land surveyor in Colorado and is a devoted member of several map societies across the nation, including the North American Cartographic Information Society, Charles Close Society for the Study of Ordnance Survey Maps, and Rocky Mountain Map Society, to name just a few.
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The creator said that the title r/MapP**n followed the trend on Reddit at the time when “there were a lot of subreddits with a *-porn suffix.” He explained further: “This refers to pictures of innocuous things like nature, architecture, or engineering marvels in a beautiful way. It was not meant to be sexual. The internet at the time was a lot more relaxed and using that term was funny.”
“In the years since the culture on the internet has taken a much more puritan bias and some people don't like that name,” Patrick said.
However, he assured us that “the goal of the brand has not changed, though: it's a place to share and discuss beautiful maps.”
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When it comes to submissions, they come in every form and style. “From historical maps showing ancient borders, to funny memes and transit maps. People also post imaginary maps of places that they create in their minds.”
In fact, every kind of map imaginable has been posted to this subreddit. Patrick said that linguistic maps are popular, as well as maps that re-imagine state and national borders. There are also maps of asteroids and maps of routes of famous explorers.
“One of my favorite interactions is when a map is posted of an obscure place and someone in the comments says they live there or has a story about that place.”
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Patrick concluded that “Maps are a way to visualize the world in a way that is easy to grasp. They are an aid in learning about new lands and faraway places. They help us find our way when we are lost.”
Especially in a time like now, “when the pandemic prevents us from traveling, maps are a way that we can travel without leaving our home,” the map enthusiast said.