The map might not be the territory, but gosh darn it both aren't fascinating to look at! We’re pretty big fans of maps and we can’t wait to set our eyes on even more unusual and peculiar ones in order to expand our minds and feed our imaginations which are hungry for aesthetic designs. Luckily for us, there are tons of like-minded internet users who are nearly bursting with their love of maps.
This subreddit about maps has nearly 1.5 million members and probably has more creativity than I’ve personally seen anywhere else on Reddit so far. Even though we can’t mention the subreddit’s full name because we'll get censored, the community is truly friendly and has stood the test of time since May 2011. And the person to thank is land surveyor Patrick McGranaghan, the founder of the entire project, whose passion for maps is beyond measure and keeps the online group together.
Patrick and I had a wholesome chat about how to get ourselves moving outside our comfort zones and on adventures, what maps he's recently been working on, as well as the ins and outs of moderating the subreddit.
"I've noticed, especially as I've gotten older, that you only have so much time on this planet and every day that is wasted is a day that you'll never get back. If you want to get out and explore the world you just have to do it. Some adventures will cost time and resources, but the real question I ask myself is can I afford not to do some goal I have my heart set on. There are so many opportunities in this world that it may be hard to choose, but if you wait too long those opportunities will be gone forever," he told Bored Panda to seize the day and really start living.
Bored Panda has featured the subreddit extensively in our previous articles. When you’re done upvoting and commenting on your fave maps in this list, keep in mind that there’s a whole land of adventure waiting for you in these earlier posts right here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
This Is A LEGO World Map I Designed! I Spent Many Hours Staring At Google Earth And Topological Maps To Make This
Map Of Africa's Borders If Divided By Languages and Ethnicities
I was interested to hear about Patrick's recent cartography projects as well. He told me that recently he's been focusing on pixel maps which are bound to get some of you Pandas nostalgic. "This spring, I was making a lot of pixel maps that looked like old video game graphics. I picked some exotic places like Botswana and Mongolia to make these maps," he shared with Bored Panda.
"I think a great way to learn about an exotic place is to make a map of it and really give some hours and care into making the map look as good as possible. You really get a connection for a place as you're putting labels on and making decisions about what to include and where to lay everything out."
World Map Of Borders
Hello! I Cross Stitch Earth Science Maps And Have Been Told They Belong Here. Great Lakes Bathymetry Is My Favorite So Far
How A Coastline 100 Million Years Ago Influences Modern Election Results In Alabama
As for moderating the subreddit, which continues growing, it's always been about finding the right balance. Patrick also told me that moderating things, just like doing anything in life, means that there will always be someone who's unhappy with your decisions.
"Moderating is always a delicate balance. It is impossible to please everybody. If you are too laissez-faire you get a lot of low effort and ugly submissions and the users complain. If you are too strict, then you risk alienating those who supply the content for the sub. I try to find a balance between these two extremes. Overall, I'm satisfied with the moderating and I don't foresee any changes in the immediate future," he said.
As for the future? Patrick's finally traveling to Europe again and plans to have a grand old time in Italy soon.
I Am Working On A Picture Book With Each State Drawn With One Line. I Finished My 7th State Last Night
Hand Drawn Map Of China And Neighboring Countries With Placenames In Mandarin (I Drew It As An Exercise To Memorise All The Provinces)
Previously, I had a couple of in-depth chats with Patrick, the founder of the subreddit, about the project, learning to navigate better, and the state of travel during the pandemic. In the decade since its founding, the subreddit has blossomed into a welcoming niche for cartographers—professional and amateur alike—all over the globe. Everyone’s welcome, so long as they stick to the rules and stay polite. Patrick developed his love for maps very early in his childhood as his family traveled and moved a lot.
"The older I get, the more I realize that spatial awareness just comes naturally to some people, and for others, it's a struggle," Patrick pointed out to Bored Panda that just like with any other skill, getting good at navigating requires patience, dedication, and repetition.
“In a way, reliance on Google Maps has made us dumber. We let the navigation app do all the work for us and don't engage with making the decisions," he said.
"If you live in a place with a tall hill or some viewpoint, go up there some time and look around. Try to identify as many landmarks as you can. Notice where they are in relation to each other. Look for new landmarks that you've never noticed before and keep them in mind as you navigate your hometown. If there are rivers or other features that cause chokepoints on bridges or highways, memorize all the bridges and where they go. In this way, you'll know the layout of your city and how to get around," the subreddit’s founder, Patrick, gave us some pointers on how to up our navigation game.
With mass vaccination programs continuing to gather steam, global travel and adventure are nonetheless still in a very confusing situation right now. On the one hand, lockdowns had ended in some countries (and in the case of the United Kingdom will end on ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19, though with some confusion over mask-wearing going forth).
However, the quick rise in new cases after ending restrictions (e.g. in the Netherlands where cases soared by a whopping 500%), along with the continued spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, mean that these same regulations are returning. And the rules keep changing very quickly, so it’s a nightmare to follow if you’re traveling, even if you’re double-vaxxed and immune.
I Drew A Map Of All Japanese Prefectures (Took 6 Hours). Hope You Like It
“I think we all have to take precautions, get vaccinated, and avoid risky behaviors. That said, I think we need to remember that we're fighting to eradicate this disease and get back to a normal state of affairs. I really miss the freedom of travel. We're losing years of potential happiness to the lockdowns and at some point, we need to open up. Those are issues above my pay grade though and I hope it's sooner rather than later," Patrick told me in late spring.
According to Patrick, who makes maps for a living, he’s heard tons of people say that everything has already been mapped. However, he points out that there will always be a need for new maps as time goes by.
"People say, 'Hasn't everything been mapped?' The world is constantly changing and accurate spatial data is a fleeting thing. Google Maps certainly gives the impression that everything is mapped, but there is selection and generalization in their data," he said.
This Is My Friends Wood Shop Project, Thought It Would Be Fitting Here
"Infrastructure is a key thing that we all rely on and don't realize it. The electricity to turn on your lights, the fiber that carries this message, the water that you drink. All those things are traveling to you above and below ground. Construction is constantly happening along this route. Knowing where to safely build is critical,” Patrick told Bored Panda about the need to map and remap the world that surrounds us.
"There are other themes that have spatial data too. Municipalities pass zoning and other restrictions all the time. Cities like London have an umbrella of rules about the preservation of old buildings, view-lines, noise nuisances, and other regulations. Making accurate maps is a constant struggle that is going to stay with us for a long time. As more things get built, knowing where these are located is important. Maintaining the world's databases of spatial information is the task of the modern map-maker." There will always be a need for maps and, we hope, for the entire subreddit as well.