How a Map is Read

Map from the Marshall Islands, while being an aesthetically incredible object it is also one of incredibly efficient and practical design. Through clear visual strategy it depicts the flow of current and location of islands using only two elements, sticks and shells, and critical to the utility of a map for a boating culture – it floats.


Still in the elegant design camp, this is somewhere between map and diagram. Through a simple line it carries many different sets of data, about dates locations, troop numbers, and time.

Edward Tufte loves this diagram, and he is an incredibly astute intellectual of diagrams and graphics.


Vik Muniz WWW



Constructed from junk computer parts, this map reads in two ways, while not having much utility, the photograph illustrates an image, and perhaps tells us a story about computer waste and usage.




The Dymaxion Map by Buckminster Fuller


More unusually, the Dymaxion map does not have any “right way up”. Fuller argued that in the universe there is no “up” and “down”, or “north” and “south”: only “in” and “out”. Gravitational forces of the stars and planets created “in”, meaning ‘towards the gravitational center’, and “out”, meaning “away from the gravitational center”. He attributed the north-up-superior/south-down-inferior presentation of most other world maps to cultural bias.

from wikipedia’s entry on the Dymaxion Map.


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