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A Brief History of Housing Segregation in Baltimore

October 29, 2021
IMA Research Team

How a Baltimore garden suburb contributed to the popularization and legalization of historical segregation and redlining practices

By Sarah Jacobson

Garden Suburbs

In the 1890’s, planned and segregated housing communities had slowly begun to gain popularity in United States’ urban areas. The garden suburb, a community which focuses on incorporating the natural landscape into the community and preserving green areas, began to gain popularity. These neighborhoods were initially designed for and exclusive to upper-class, white families but were eventually made accessible to working class, white families in the 1950’s-1960’s.  

Snowy Roland Park, one of Baltimore City’s first garden suburbs. More historic pictures available from the Johns Hopkins University Special Collections.

While many may consider suburbs a definitively American concept, the movement was largely popularized by British investors who wanted to bring the industrialization and style of British imperialism to the United States. As the Civil War ended in the United States, freed Black men and women began to migrate to Northern cities, which emerged as hubs for work and opportunity. As a result, white elites began searching for an escape from the city life, without losing access to its convenience, job opportunities, and resources. With British investments in the American housing market, the suburb neighborhood began to gain popularity among the elitist and segregationist white class in the United States.

Introduction to Roland Park, Baltimore

Established in 1891, the community of Roland Park in Baltimore, Maryland was among one of the first and most influential garden suburbs in the nation. It was developed by a Baltimore landscaping and suburban development company, the Roland Park Company, that worked with some of the most popular architects and landscape artists of the time to design the neighborhood, receiving 75% of its funding from the Lands Trust Company, a London led and run investment corporation. For more on British investments in segregated suburbs in the United States, see “Building Suburban Power” by Paige Glotzer.

Roland Park, although not the first garden suburb, was one of the first to be an all-inclusive neighborhood offering various services to the community such as transportation via electric car lines, a free automobile service, fire protection, a variety of schools, local business and store fronts, and common grounds of green space, playing fields, and footpaths throughout the community connecting residents to varying regions of the neighborhood. 

“The Footpaths of Roland Park” from

The contracts that investors signed included strict regulation on what homeowners could change about the design, landscape, and utilization of property, allowing for the creation of a cohesive neighborhood. Roland Park Company was among the first construction companies to absorb the cost of installing running water, gas and a sanitary sewage system to appeal to upper class citizens. But it did nothing to contribute to infrastructure in neighboring communities who struggled with access to running water, which was necessary to prevent disease outbreaks and destructive fires. Additionally, when adjacent neighborhoods with little infrastructure began struggling with public health hazards like typhoid and tainted water, the Roland Park Company took no action until those outbreaks threatened to spread into their up and coming neighborhood in 1908. For more on infrastructure development in Roland Park see “Building Suburban Life: Roland Park, Baltimore and the Regulation of Space” by John Joseph Swab.

Despite some early hiccups, Roland Park continued to thrive, eventually becoming known as the Roland Park – Guilford District, with the Guilford area added as an extension between 1913 and 1914. The thoughtful and elaborately designed neighborhood gained extreme notoriety in the early 20th century, and the Roland Park Company designers were asked to work with housing developers across the nation’s largest cities, influencing the design, layout, and lifestyle of numerous suburban communities.

The Roland Park-Guilford District in north Baltimore City. More historic pictures available from the Johns Hopkins University Special Collections.

How Garden Suburb Development Contributed to White Flight and Segregation

At the start of its development in 1893, Roland Park executives questioned attorneys to see if it would be possible to create and include a deed restriction against “persons of African descent” and any other Black person, preventing them from purchasing a house or owning property in the neighborhood. In response, the lawyers stated it was unconstitutional, with the development eventually going as far as questioning a Maryland Court of Appeals Judge who also advised against it as it was illegal and wrong. For more on the beginning of restrictive covenants see Jacques Kelly’s article in the Baltimore Sun.

A portion of the 1893 letter from as depicted in “Building Suburban Power.”

The company held off for about 20 years, with white-on-black violence often being what maintained the “residential color line” of the neighborhood, along with marketing Roland Park to prominent and wealthy German-Jewish immigrants to gain notoriety and interest. The covenant returned in 1913 after Baltimore City Council passed the first enforced discriminatory deed restrictions in 1911; the result of white petitioners’ request that the Mayor and City Council “take some measures to restrain the colored people from locating in a white community, and proscribe a limit beyond which it shall be unlawful for them to go…”. These restrictions were eventually extended to exclude the white, Jewish families which Roland Park initially marketed to. 

In 1917, the Supreme Court struck down segregationist deed restrictions from Kentucky, not necessarily because it discriminated against Black Americans, but because it prevented white property owners from doing what they wanted with their property. In response, the Baltimore mayor, James H. Preston, told housing inspectors to “instead cite anyone who rented or sold property to black people in predominantly white areas for code violations.” 

The restrictions were continuously enforced and adapted into city policy with the creation of the Committee on Segregation, a private-public partnership of “city government, community organizations, and real estate industry representatives,” intimidating any agent who would be willing to cross the racial divide in the city (quotes from “‘The Black Butterfly’ Racial Segregation and Investment Patterns in Baltimore”).

For more details on the implementation and adoption of racial deed restrictions in Baltimore, see Elizabeth Dickinson’s post in the John Hopkins Magazine.

WWI & After

With the start of World War I in 1917, there was an increase in Black out-migration from the south to the north, often called the Great Migration, which continued for several decades. With an influx of Black residents moving into the city, white flight commenced with the movement of white families from dense urban areas to less populated, suburban areas.

Various factors played into white families moving en masse during this era such as predatory housing marketers and economic concerns over the housing market, but it was largely driven by fear, racism, and prejudice against any nonwhite residents, and the stereotypes of increased violence surrounding Black people and families. 

Crime did actually increase during this time, but it is incorrectly attributed to the Black families moving into neighborhoods. The systems that kept people in cycles of poverty, combined with the high tensions surrounding Black out-migration increased the amount of violence both against and within Black communities. The over-policing of Black neighborhoods, violence from white neighbors, and racist housing policies trapped people in homes and communities that were unsafe and unsanitary to live in, not at the fault of the Black homeowner but because of the predatory and segregated housing market which actively and systemically denied them access to housing in majority white neighborhoods that provided access to education, sanitary homes, and community spaces.

Racism & Redlining

After the Great Depression, many families struggled to afford owning a home and so in 1937, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) created a mortgage insurance program where the buyer would provide a 10% down payment on the home, and banks would be willing to issue a mortgage with low-risk. The Veteran’s Association (VA) also established their own mortgage insurance programs which, after World War II, caused a massive increase in housing demand. However, these programs were only available to white families with the small down payments and low monthly payments making it a “cornerstone of wealth creation for the white middle class.” Black and African American citizens were completely excluded from these policies, furthering the cycle of poverty.

In order to maintain segregated housing, the FHA and VA would develop maps that color coded city blocks and neighborhoods according to a risk assessment of their creditworthiness. Initially developed by the Home Owners Loan Corporation, the maps would use red to indicate risky neighborhoods that were ineligible for federally-insured loans, and any neighborhoods that were majority Black or were transitioning into becoming majority Black were automatically colored red, thus cutting them off from access to credit and institutionalizing the practice of “redlining.” 

The Federal Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) published what is known as the Baltimore redlining map in 1937 also called the “Residential Security Map of Baltimore Md.”

The FHA in its 1939 FHA Underwriting Manual states that in order for a neighborhood to maintain any stability, racially restrictive deeds and property laws were necessary, and it recommended the continued use of segregation. Continued white flight from Baltimore to developing suburbs meant that housing, for a short period of time, became more affordable and accessible to Black and Brown populations within large cities, with neighborhoods becoming majority Black, and beginning to expand to meet the demand.

Highways to Nowhere

White homeowners within cities began to feel threatened by the continued expansion of Black neighborhoods and actively fought to block any further development by segregating areas of the city, restricting how much Black neighborhoods could expand, and allocating race specific outdoor areas and parks. This occurred specifically in Baltimore, where the Black population doubled between 1930 and 1960, but little to no new construction for Black housing occurred. During the same time period, an increase in demolition and rebuilding of the city occurred with primarily Black and impoverished neighborhoods seeing their homes and neighborhoods torn down to make room for expanding highways, schools, and other housing projects, displacing hundreds of Black and African American residents.

Baltimore’s “Highway to Nowhere” destroyed over 900 homes, displaced over 1,500 residents, and was never completed. Image from WBALTV11.

Between the years of 1951 and 1971, over 75,000 people were displaced, with 80-90% of them being Black people who were removed from their homes for the building of schools, urban renewal, highway expansion, and “slum clearing.” The city exacerbated the existing Black housing shortage by demolishing more houses than it built or allowed space for.

As a result, blockbusting became more and more frequent, where sellers would “break the real estate industry’s code of ethics and cheat on the cartel between white homeowners, real estate dealers, mortgage lenders, city government, and the FHA”, by selling homes to Black people in white neighborhoods. Those who engaged in blockbusting often manipulated white families into selling out of fear of low prices and then sold the house to a Black buyer marking up the price, and “exacting exorbitant profits.”

Fair Housing Act of 1968

Several bills attempted to end discriminatory housing practices, but it wasn’t until after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination and the ensuing riots that pushed conservative senators to break party ties and vote for the Fair Housing Act of 1968. This federal ban prohibited several discriminatory practices; however, the systemic removal of these practices would be difficult to achieve due to the numerous compromises made in the bill, often preventing justice for victims of housing inequities. 

As much as white communities tried to prevent it, legislation eventually changed, ending discriminatory practices with congress passing the Equal Credit Opportunity Act in 1974, which stated that discrimination against Black people in mortgage lending is prohibited and in 1977, passing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) which outlawed discrimination against black neighborhoods and ended the ability to redline on any legal basis.

Despite the legal improvements, Baltimore natives are still being highly affected by economic disparities, environmental health hazards, over policing, and other racist systemic issues that have been upheld as a result of economic and power imbalances caused by segregated housing and other racist policies enacted during the early 20th century. While the 1977 CRA outlawed discriminatory practices, no efforts were made to equalize cycles of poverty perpetuated by racist housing practices that were commonplace for most of the 1900s.

Effects of Housing Segregation, Redlining, and Discriminatory Lending Practices

The current connections between housing, poverty, and race in Baltimore are a direct result of the varying levels of discrimination and segregation throughout Baltimore and this country’s history. 

Studies done by Dr. Lawrence T. Brown, a Baltimore native, connects the geography of Baltimore to race and economic status, displaying a pattern he coined as the “Black Butterfly” effect. Based on the neighborhood and city block, regions of Baltimore are segregated by factors of economic status, housing, health, and race even if not explicitly segregated by law. Maps created by the Baltimore Neighborhood Institute Alliance clearly demonstrate the distinctions between predominantly Black and white neighborhoods, creating a butterfly shape consistent throughout each map of various socioeconomic factors. 

Dr. Brown agrees that the 1977 CRA “was never enforced in any real powerful way,” and since the murder of Freddie Gray in 2015, redlining has gotten even worse within the city, creating “bank deserts in redlined black neighborhoods” (In a 2019 Bloomberg article: “Are Reparations Baltimore’s Fix for Redlining, Investment Deprivation?“). The predominantly Black neighborhoods in Baltimore deal with extreme poverty with poverty rates at 23.1% compared to the 12.7% national average.

Other effects of redlining include drastically hotter temperatures in redlined neighborhoods with summer temperatures being nearly 6 degrees hotter than the city average. This is, in part, due to the large disparity in the amount of tree coverage as well as an increase in paved surfaces which absorb heat. Researchers went block to block, measuring temperatures during a heat wave and found a 16 degree difference between the hottest and coolest blocks in the city. Communities like Roland Park work to incorporate and maintain nature, and as a default have access to cooler spaces, unlike redlined neighborhoods which have historically been neglected and void of green spaces. Redlining has impacted city neighborhoods in related but more general ways like tree coverage and access to green spaces, all of which have negative health outcomes.

Redlined neighborhoods also have increased levels of pollution and vulnerability to natural disasters with heavier rainfalls overextending the ability of Baltimore’s drainage system to function which causes flooding, the closing down of roads, and an increase in sinkholes. Those who cannot afford to rebuild their homes or businesses after such catastrophes are forced to live without water, heat, A/C, and could possibly lose their homes or businesses. For more on the environmental impact of redlining see the Baltimore Sun’s article “Summer is hotter in Baltimore neighborhoods that have seen racial ‘redlining.’ And the difference is more extreme here.

Redlined neighborhoods also have increased rates of health risks, increased prevalence of poor mental health, and lower life expectancy at birth. The homes in these neighborhoods are often old and neglected with residents dealing with various hazardous conditions such as mold throughout the home, and lead in the paint and pipes. The asthma hospitalization rate in Baltimore is one of the highest in the country, with rates being 50% higher for families below the poverty line. The houses and communities next to busy commuter streets and highways are often impoverished and previously redlined communities that, in combination with extreme heat, have to deal with extremely high ozone levels, increasing the asthma inducing effects.  The Baltimore Magazine has an article about climate change in Baltimore, which is predicted to have worse outcomes in formerly redlined neighborhoods.


Today, the Roland Park – Guilford District lives on as Greater Roland Park/Poplar Hill, and continues to be a predominantly white and wealthy neighborhood.  A study done in 2016 by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance found Greater Roland Park to have the 2nd lowest overall and violent crime rates and is third lowest for property crime rates in Baltimore. It has some of the lowest rates of adult arrest, domestic violence calls, shooting calls, and assault calls. These are just a few of the reported indicators that demonstrate how investing in a community’s access to public transportation, sanitary water and waste management, and community oriented areas such as schools, parks, and businesses create safer, healthier neighborhoods for people to live in. However, these communities and resources are primarily still only accessible to white people in Baltimore, with income disparities and historical segregation exasperating the racial class-divide that exists today.

Time and time again, policy change and legislation has tried to end systemic discriminatory issues within Baltimore, and time and time again it has failed. In Baltimore, the most successful way to fight against the systemic inequities has been through local, mutual-aid efforts led by members of the community. Baltimore has always been a center for local activism within the community, and today we see organizations such as the Black Yield Institute, Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, and more actively making a difference within their communities, providing access to healthy food resources and empowering Black residents to enact change in Baltimore. In order to address the many issues that racist and prejudiced policies have caused, we have to listen to those who have been exploited and neglected the most.

The community of Roland Park is just an example of one neighborhood that flourished and thrived as a direct result of racism and classism. Through the understanding of how our current society has been, and still is, shaped by the convoluted policies of a time ruled by segregation and racial violence, we can actively work to dismantle those systems still present within our own institutions and relationships. 

Old Maps, Modern Influences

May 21, 2021
IMA Research Team

What historical maps leave out and how it impacts our perceptions

By Zander Bamford-Brown

Deanwood is an exceptional working class Black neighborhood on the edge of Washington DC. In spite of structural racism and a lack of infrastructure and material wealth, Deanwood was a relatively prosperous community in the early 1900s. Deanwood had a robust autonomous economy in which many residents grew and processed much of their own food. I am working with professor Kate Brown from M.I.T.’s Department of Science, Technology, and Society to better understand this community and what made it so successful. We have been using census records and deeds to help us quantify Deanwood, but unfortunately, we have limited information to help us visualize this neighborhood before the 1940s.

In order to get a sense of the neighborhood as a whole, I turned to the Baist Atlases. The Baist Atlases (like the Sanborn Maps) are detailed real estate maps of cities. They include the location, shape, and construction material of every building in the city along with street material, train and tram lines, property lines, lot numbers, and the names of some property owners. I wrote a separate post talking about my experience with these little known maps.

The atlases, one from 1907 and another from 1921, provide the most detailed neighborhood-wide information we have about Deanwood during this period. In order to better understand the community we were researching, I used the atlases to take imaginary Google Street View-esque walks through historic Deanwood. However, I was walking through a very distorted version of Deanwood.

The trap I fell into was forgetting just how much information was left out of the Baist Atlases. Take this section of the 1921 atlas, it shows a subdivision in Deanwood called Linwood Heights. From the map, this sub development looks like a classic early American suburb complete with a crescent shaped precursor to the cul-de-sac. It is easy to imagine the low white picket fences that the residents of Linwood Heights might erect along the lines dividing their properties. Their gardens may look like the victory gardens of World War 2, a few raised beds with rows of vegetables surrounded by children playing on a well trimmed electric green lawn. But, as you look for the yellow, pink, and gray squares that represent houses, you may notice that the subdivision is barely inhabited.

Not only does this map make Linwood Heights out to be much more populated and developed than it was, it also projects (sub)urbanity onto a place that was far from it at the time. The photographs below were taken in 1948 at the intersection of 53rd St. and Clay St., directly in the middle of the map above. John P. Wymer captured the neighborhood 27 years after this atlas was published when the number of houses had increased by about 800% and the neighborhood had been almost entirely developed. 

From the John P Wymer Photograph Collection

The stark contrast between the empty gridded subdivision of Linwood Heights presented in the Baist Atlas and the verdant semi-rural community shown in the photographs taken a quarter century later serve as a reminder of how limited a perspective maps alone can provide.

Even when it came to property lines, which was the main focus of the Baist Atlases, the maps produced a distorted picture of life in Deanwood. By looking through the original deeds we found that households in Deanwood tended to buy many consecutive lots (six was not uncommon) which often neighbored undeveloped and unoccupied lots owned by the developer. This made most of the property boundaries that were so central to the Baist Atlases meaningless in the everyday lives of people in Deanwood. Similarly, the plants like tomatoes, greens, corn, sweet potatoes, peanuts, and fruit trees, which were meaningful to the residents (and to our research), were not mapped at all.

A map like those in the Baist Atlas, which presents itself as an objective survey of the area, is not neutral. How information is simplified and represented as well as what information is not included impacts how we conceptualize the areas represented on the map. Since so much information must be left out of any map, the user will generally fill in the gaps in a way that perpetuates their preconceived notions of what they are studying. For example, many Deanwood residents were only able to afford to build a home because they built it themselves from cheap and salvaged materials. However, the atlas lumps all wood frame houses together making it impossible to determine the cost or state of repair of the houses. Since the map is so crisp and professionally done it gives the impression that the houses it mapped could be categorized the same way. In doing so, the atlas covered up a central part of what made Deanwood prosperous.

This experience served to remind me of how suspicious we must be of historical documents. Both the biases of the author and our own biases can greatly impact how we interpret documents. So even apparently benign sources like the Baist Atlas can end up obscuring the pivotal aspects of a community. The task is then on us to be aware of our prejudices and make the effort to reach a more informed conclusion.

Using Baist Atlases

April 5, 2021
IMA Research Team

A contemporary of the Sanborn Maps with an eye on the future

By Zander Bamford-Brown

This blog was created using ArcGIS StoryMaps, and we recommend using that platform for the best reader experience. Check it out!

Mapping Black-owned Businesses in Charm City

February 22, 2021
IMA Research Team

By Safania Romas

The History of Black History Month

February is African American History Month in the United States, in which the historically underrepresented achievements of African Americans are celebrated. Black History Month was founded in November 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. It was created by a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson. While earning his Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago and Ph.D. from Harvard, both in History, Woodson witnessed how underrepresented African Americans were in the books and conversations that shaped the study of American History. He co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History with a friend, Jesse E. Morland. The organization, now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, promotes studying Black History and celebrates African Americans’ achievements.

Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-trained historian, founded Black History Month with a friend, Jesse E. Morland.

Baltimore City

About an hour from Washington D.C., the port city of Baltimore, Maryland has a rich African American history. With a population today of 61% African Americans, Baltimore is and was home to some well-known public figures. The first African American Supreme Court Judge, Thurgood Marshall, was born in Baltimore in 1908. Former U.S. Congressman and Civil Rights Activist Elijah E. Cummings named Baltimore his hometown. Baltimore City was once home to abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, who was an escaped slave turned activist promoting the end of slavery. You can visit the Reginald F. Lewis Museum to learn more about his work.

Baltimore City in 1865, extracted from Martenet’s Map of Maryland from the Library of Congress.

The Great Migration

Baltimore’s draw to African Americans relates to its geography in a variety of ways. Maryland, though a southern slave state before and during the Civil War, never left the union, and it was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, which facilitated the escape of slaves from the deep South to safety in the North or Canada. Baltimore is also located on a fall line and was, therefore, home to a variety of industries like textiles and manufacturing. Baltimore was such a successful industrial city because of its port located in the deep waters of the Chesapeake Bay, which made it a shipping powerhouse, a status Baltimore works hard to maintain.

More than six million African Americans migrated from the southern United States to the northern United States during the early twentieth century in what is known as the Great Migration. African Americans left their homes to escape racism and seek better opportunities in the industrial cities, of which Baltimore was then a prominent member. If you’re interested in learning more about the Great Migration, check out the ‘further readings’ section below.

An African American family on their way north from Florida. Their destination may have been Baltimore City. Photo from the Baltimore Magazine.

Baltimore’s Black-owned Businesses

Today, African Americans own about 47% of Baltimore’s small businesses. African American business owners have long faced discrimination in accessing loans, which is just one example of the United States’ broader systemic racism problem, which others have discussed recently and extensively. In looking at lending specifically, see Forbes’s “Why Minorities Have So Much Troubles Accessing Small Business Loans” which describes the racism and discrimination faced by minorities, and especially African Americans, in detail.

The Covid-19 global pandemic forced local Black-owned businesses in Baltimore to shut down in April 2020. Even when lockdown orders lifted, many businesses struggled to bring back customers to the stores. To celebrate Black History Month, International Mapping is highlighting some of the Black-owned businesses in Baltimore. Using a variety of sources, we have gathered the locations of 200+ businesses. Businesses are sorted based on their categories. Please scroll down to check them out.

For a full screen version of the map, click here.

Beyond Black History Month

International Mapping feels a deep connection to Baltimore. Our office is located in Ellicott City, a short drive from downtown Baltimore, a commute some of us know well. All of our cartographers, researchers, and GIS professionals went to UMBC, which lies just outside Baltimore. Many of us took classes on the history of Baltimore, or studied the trees of Baltimore, or used Baltimore housing availability for GIS projects. For more on our work in Baltimore check out our ‘Visualizing Baltimore City’s Trees’ blog post.

If you have a favorite Black-owned business in Baltimore that didn’t make it onto our list, please fill out this form! We will continue to grow the project and support local Black-owned businesses. For more information about the data sources used in this story map, please visit the following articles below.

Further Reading Editors. “Black History Month,”, A&E Television Networks, January 14, 2010. 

Zorthian, Julia. “Black History Month: How It Started and Why It’s in February,” Time, January 29, 2016. 

Cassie, Ron. “The Great Migration,” Baltimore Magazine, February 1, 2021. 

Tuck, Ashlee. “100+ Black-Owned Restaurants You Need to Visit in Baltimore,” WILL DRINK FOR TRAVEL, February 1, 2021. 

Turner, Tatyana. “Amid Pandemic, Baltimore’s Black-Owned Businesses Struggle – but Some Are Finding New Support,” Baltimore Sun, August 7, 2020. 

Mapping Energy Stats

July 31, 2019
Marissa Wood

I have unfortunately been stuck on a pretty mundane data updating project for the past month. It involves downloading various tables full of numbers and bringing a world choropleth map from 2012 to 2016 statistics (plus or minus a few years depending on the dataset). For the most part it’s been mind numbingly boring, but every once in a while I come across a dataset that catches my interest, mostly in terms of how much a statistic has changed in the past four or five years.

Since mapping obesity changes in the United States is too depressing (yeah, it’s bad), I thought it might be fun to play with some energy statistics which reveal the global push towards more renewable energy generation over the past four years. The US Energy Information Administration publishes a series of US and international datasets tracking methods of electricity production across multiple years, going as far back as 1980 for some variables. They have a “beta” data and map portal from which different charts can be downloaded. (I say “beta” because it’s been in “beta” form for the past few years…)

To set the stage, let’s look at total energy production, both from renewables and non-renewables for 2016. China, US, India, and Russia are the biggest producers. No surprises there and no real changes in the last four years aside from a 10% increase in total electricity production world wide.

2016 Total worldwide electricity generation in billions of Kilowatt hours per country.

But as you break the data down into its components, the push for electricity generation by renewable resources becomes visible. The major renewable components tracked by the EIA are wind power, hydroelectric generation, and solar power (data on geothermal, wave, and biomass energy production area also available).


Humans have been using the wind as a source of energy for thousands and thousands of years and converting wind power to electricity started in the 1800s. The technology has changed a lot over 7,000 some odd years, with modern wind farms being massive collections of giant wind turbines. They have their own environmental, political, and economic connotations, but facing a wind turbine close up or from afar is awe inspiring.

In 2012 only 2% of the world’s electricity generation came from wind power, and by 2016 that figure doubled and will continue to climb into the future as more countries invest in wind power. In 2016, China was the largest producer of wind power at 237 billion kilowatt hours (Kwh), but that only accounts for 4% of China’s total electricity generation. The US was a close second in producing electricity from wind power at 227 billion Kwh, but again that only counts for 5% of its total. Denmark had the largest percentage of the total electricity generation being from wind at 42%, followed closely by Lithuania at 36%.

2016 Total worldwide electricity generation from wind power.
Electricity generation from wind as a percentage of all electricity generation. Antarctica is at 100%. Go Antarctica!


People have been using water as a source of power for not quite as long as they’ve been using wind (going back to the ancient Greeks rather than ancient Egyptians), but hydropower has been a pillar of electricity generation since the beginning. Niagara Falls was recognized as an epic source of energy even as Edison and Tesla were duking it out over DC and AC power in the 1890s (Tesla would eventually win).

Because hydropower has been almost ubiquitous with electricity generation from the start, its use has remained constant from 2012 to 2016 at 17% of total energy production. China is the biggest producer of hydroelectricity at 1,151 billion Kwh. Many states rely on hydropower for almost all of their electricity generation: Lesotho at 100%, Paraguay at 99.999%, and Albania at 99.9%, to name a few.

2016 Total worldwide electricity generation from hydropower.
Electricity generation from hydropower as a percentage of all electricity generation.

Fire (okay fine, Sun)

Aside from the total dependence of all life on the sun for all time, humans have been directly converting solar energy into power for only a few hundred years. It is the most recent of the renewable energy technologies, and solar panels (and tiles and roads and etc.) have become more widely available and cheaper in the last few decades.

Solar still makes up only a small percentage of the world’s total electricity production at only 1% in 2016. In 2012 several European nations were early adopters of producing electricity from solar: Germany, followed by Italy and Spain. However, by 2016, China again takes the lead, now followed by the US and Japan. By percent of total electricity production, Luxembourg generates the most solar at 30% followed by Kiribati and Malta.

2016 Total worldwide electricity generation from solar power.
Electricity generation from solar power as a percentage of all electricity generation. It is amusing to no end that the scale of this map renders the top three countries (Luxembourg, Kiribati, and Malta) invisible.

Renewables are only a small piece of the energy puzzle, but their increase in use over the past four years reflects human efforts to alleviate the climate risks of fossil fuel use through technology improvements. It seems like that over the next four years, wind and solar power for electricity generation will continue to grow.

The Maps of Middle-earth

April 30, 2019
Marissa Wood

I can’t say that my love for Lord of the Rings led me to be a cartographer, but I do vividly remember picking up The Hobbit as a middle schooler, bored and home sick with the flu, and spending a lot of time with the map illustration tucked into the first pages before I even joined Bilbo on his journey. As a map maker, I endlessly appreciate J.R.R. Tolkien’s attention to detail, the depths he went into to build his world, and yes, I love Tolkien’s maps. I know that statement is not without controversy.

Marissa's Tolkien collection including the Lord of the Rings series, the Silmarillion, and several others.
Nerd status: my current Tolkien collection. Hopefully adding new books soon!

Ode to the Writer/Artist/Cartographer

The cartographic process was quite different when Tolkien was building Middle-earth in the 1930s and ‘40s as compared to now. Today, I spend 98% of my time on the computer, digitally drawing in Arc GIS, Adobe Illustrator, or adjusting shading in Adobe Photoshop. In 1937, cartographers were hunched over stereoplotters and maps were mass produced through lithographic printing and copper plates. Computers were barely a science fiction dream. Tolkien had a very different set of tools and process in terms of map creation than he would today even as a fantasy author.

In addition to being a literary genius, Tolkien was an amateur artist and sketched as he visualized the world he was creating. The escape of the Hobbits in The Fellowship of the Ring, something I could so clearly visualize as they struggled to get out of the Shire, Tolkien had mapped as he wrote. Later, as the story of Lord of the Rings grew more complex, he maintained a map to scale of the various journeys of the characters to keep track of when and where they were in space and time so that the ring could be destroyed in Mount Doom as hope for victory dimmed at the Black Gate. And then all could be save by the eagles. Again. Wired did an article on The Art of the Lord of the Rings, a book which I have now added to my personal wish list.

Tolkien visualized and detailed his world, down to the sketch of a contour and the runnel of a little stream, but he passed his maps on to either his son, Christopher Tolkien, or professional artist, Pauline Baynes, to adapt for the reader. Baynes was an English artist who spent time as a child in India. During World War II, Baynes’s skills as an artist were pressed into service, and she found herself making maps and nautical charts for the British Admiralty. It was during this time that she was first introduced to Tolkien, and they began collaborating. Tolkien loved her art and found it to be the perfect companion for the worlds he was creating.  While the original plan of having Baynes fully illustrate the entire Lord of the Rings became unwieldly, her adaptations of Tolkien’s scribbled maps aided the reader through adventures of Elves and Rangers. For more information on the incredible life of Pauline Baynes, see this article.

An original Tolkien sketch of Middle-earth on graph paper with detailed contours and rivers and a variety of notes in different colors.
A Tolkien sketch on graph paper from the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford/Wired article.

Modern Criticism

Some people have managed to look at the maps of Lord of the Rings with a degree of skepticism and disapproval. Not me. But the critics do raise a few interesting points. One of the big complaints is over the actual geographic make up of Middle-earth. Alex Ack, for, goes so far as to say “Middle-earth’s got 99 problems, and mountains are basically 98 of them” because of the rules of geomorphology and plate tectonics. He’s got a few good points. Mountains definitely “don’t do corners.” But still others, including Jeffrey Peters, have responded to Ack, calling his position an oversimplification. I see both sides of this argument. I think, unlike Ack, that Tolkien had a good understanding of geography, but unlike Peters, who attempts to link the geography of Middle-earth with Europe (after various rotations and mirrorings), I would guess that Tolkien utilized the idea of cartographic conveniences to move his story along.

The map of Middle-earth with red highlights emphasizing the corners of the mountain ranges.
Alex Ack’s mountains of the Lord of the Rings doing corners.

Modern Reinterpretation

More than just me alone think the maps of Lord of the Rings are wonderful. Callum Ogden went so far as to develop a methodology to convert a modern map into something that would belong tucked into Bilbo’s copy of There and Back Again. He used Scotland as his example and the image manipulation program GIMP, but one could also use Adobe Photoshop or other photo editing tools. I think his map is beautiful and am very much looking forward to a rainy day to play around with his process.

A map of Scotland illustrated to match the style of the Lord of the Rings maps (sepia tones, textured mountains, little tree illustrations).
Callum Ogden’s map of Scotland in the style of Lord of the Rings.

I love Lord of the Rings and have found Tolkien’s attention to detail and style an inspiration in my writing, but Tolkien’s works have also played a role in my development as a map maker. As a cartographer, I am always trying to emulate the balance and simplicity of design of the maps and illustrations of Middle-earth despite my usual subject matter being situated very much in reality.

The Case for (and against) Data Densification

March 28, 2019
Kevin Danaher

GIS data comes in all shapes and sizes, and we understand when we utilize datasets that they can be far from perfect. The following goes over some thoughts on data densification, and what all of us might keep in mind as we create and share geographic data.


When I say “data densification,” at the most basic level I’m referring to how many vertices or nodes make up the features in a dataset. When digitizing or creating polyline and polygon data, these vertices are what would be created after each mouse click, and ultimately define the shape of the features you’re creating.

Vertices of the Brazil–Suriname boundary, as mapped in our Sovereign Limits database. Displayed at 1:63,360, the dataset is quite detailed such that we can’t make make out individual vertices at this scale.

Most datasets are created for an intended mapping scale or purpose, so there is usually an inherent reason why GIS data is either super detailed or more generalized in nature. The degree of densification (or generalization) and number of vertices doesn’t have anything to do with whether a dataset is “bad” or “good,” but it does have practical implications that we should be mindful of.

For comparison’s sake, the natural earth 10m scale boundary is shown at the same scale. This dataset is intended for mapping at 1:10 million scale or smaller. So, it looks exactly as it should!

As data is processed, converted between formats, or edited in different software, changes can be introduced to the vertices and overall topology of a dataset. For example, when we used to create lines and polygons using the pen tool in Illustrator and then export them to shapefiles using the MAPublisher plugin, the data came back super densified. Even the seemingly simplest data exported was cumbersome to work with in a GIS environment.

Another example comes to mind when creating or editing lines or polygons in ArcMap using the Bezier or other tools for digitizing curves. When this data is exported, the curves we create are preserved by adding (lots of ) vertices. As far as the software is concerned it’s doing the right thing, but it’s creating a dataset that might be unnecessarily bloated.

So with all of the above in mind, here are some reasons for densification:

  • Preservation of data across map projections
  • Ensuring distance and area calculations are accurate
  • Preserving construction of geodesics/loxodromes

And the big pitfall of overly/unnecessarily densified data: It’s bigger in file size and cumbersome to deal with for rendering, geoprocessing and analysis.

A “Real World” Example

Let’s say I’m doing GIS work for a group defining and managing Marine Protected Areas. There’s been a massive new swath of protected area defined in the Indian Ocean, so I need to create data for it and add it to an existing dataset, which will be shared and utilized by thousands of GIS professionals and cartographers in their own mapping and analysis work.

I create a new feature class, define it WGS84 coordinate system, and start creating the feature on a Mercator projection.

Voila! I’ve defined this massive new protected area and it looks just as it should based on the coordinates I’ve been provided. My supervisor has also given my computer screen a glance and signed off on it. My work is done and I’ll merge this feature into the larger dataset of Marine Protected Areas I manage, then publish it online.

A major news outlet has written a piece on the new Marine Protected Area! Their graphics team and cartographers have even pulled the dataset I’ve just updated and created the map shown below. Being creative cartographers, they’re not using a Mercator projection, but instead a Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area (LAEA) centered on the new protected area.

But as I examine the map more closely, I shudder. Something isn’t right.

Can you tell what is wrong?

The protected area is not portrayed correctly on their map. The reason why is quite simple: My data was not preserved as intended when projected to the LAEA projection. And the reason for this can be seen in the first image of this example: I created the polygon using only four vertices. The way the protected area should look is overlaid below.

To our mapping software, rendering features is dependent on the vertices that make them up. The defined coordinate system and projection of the data is obviously essential as well (remember to apply coordinate system transformations!), but regardless of which map projection is used the features are going to be drawn based on their vertices.

Back to my example. I’ve gone back into the dataset and applied some edits to the data for this protected area. With the vertices shown below added, the data looks just as it should across map projections.


Densify your data when there is a need for it. The need may be to take accurate measurements, preserve detail at large scale, or (as exemplified above) to ensure data holds up across map projections. If there isn’t a reason for densification, don’t do it!

A New Take on Time Zones

January 11, 2019
Tim Montenyohl

It began with a single line.

A while back I wrote a blog post where I applied our Sovereign Limits database to the International Date Line, redrawing the line to respect states’ sovereign footprints, something the “conventional” IDL doesn’t do. As I wrote that post I realized that I could take the concept significantly further, and apply Sovereign Limits to time zones for a new perspective on the time zone map. It took much longer than I’d ever expected, so I have a fair amount to say about the resulting map. Aside from a little bit of boundary lingo in the next section, a vast majority of this post is about the design process behind the map. If you’re not familiar with our work and research on international boundaries, check out Sovereign Limits, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us on twitter with any comments or questions.

Very few of these lines were made up, which is no small feat  

Recontextualizing time zones with Sovereign Limits

Time zones maps use a lot of “cartographic license” in maritime space, drawing square, blocky lines to divide zones. We don’t need to fabricate these lines, we can use lines in existence that have real-world implications. Applying key concepts of maritime sovereignty marries perfectly with time zones. Using established maritime boundaries, equidistance boundaries, and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) limits to divide time zones in maritime space would make for a more objective time zone map. You could claim I’m being a bit “radical” by using EEZs, as it isn’t conventional. But I’d like to make the argument that it should be conventional. I don’t think I’m adding any overreaching authority to EEZs, rather, most people are ignorant to their whole existence. If the “cartographic license” I’m taking is extending time zones into EEZs, I still find it more equitable than the current “standard practice” of entirely making up lines.

The problem with your average time zone map

Quite frankly, a lot of time zone maps just aren’t good. Conceptually you’d think time zones are a fairly simple thing to portray, but it gets rather complicated pretty quickly. Therefore a lot of time zone maps are complex enough that they aren’t very clear, or they’re flat out wrong. Countries toy/tweak/experiment with their own time zones with surprising frequency, so the sad truth is that even the map presented here in this post won’t remain accurate for very long. (Six months, tops.)

This old CIA map is informative, just not the easiest thing to look at

For my own sanity, I’ve ignored the whole concept of Daylight Savings Time. Not all countries observe DST. Countries that observe multiple time zones can sometimes have regions that practice or abstain from DST, causing irregularities within a single country. Some countries declare that Daylight time is their “standard” time and they roll their clocks BACK an hour to observe “Winter Time.” Other countries take that a step further and permanently observe DST all year round. Morocco is a great example of these shenanigans. They used to observe UTC-0, and participated in DST. In October of 2018 they declared that UTC-0 DST is their permanent, year-round time. I’m going to simplify that and say they observe UTC+1. If I didn’t commit to standardizing countries with peculiar practices, I wouldn’t have made it very far.

Simplify as much as possible

It’s astoundingly easy to get lost down the rabbit hole, which really reinforced the need to simplify every aspect as much as I could. Time zones had to be represented by color fills, using lines to divide the zones wasn’t going to cut it—as something that applies to the whole world, it should cover the whole world. This also places the focus on the subject of the map (where it should be), but means I need to be very careful about the colors used for these fills.


In terms of color palette for the fills, I wanted to use as few colors as possible—I’m trying to stay simple here. This gets tricky. Say I want to cycle between a set of colors, there are areas where zones mash up and jumble together (once again, Morocco…), so even with a sparse set of 4 or 5 colors it can quickly become unclear which zones certain time exclaves are associated with.

Is that bubble (Crozet Island) UTC+5 or is it UTC+1?

When simple doesn’t cut it

Using a limited color palette not only has problems with clarity, but has a whole other issue: tonality. Whatever palette I picked would really dictate the whole vibe of the map. And it would be completely arbitrary. An arbitrary set of colors is unintuitive.

Randomizing the repetition of colors felt …very random (note: these colors aren’t too far off from the final colors)

By simplifying the number of colors I’m causing more problems than I’m solving. Maybe the simple solution is using intuitive colors. When it comes to the passage of time, that means the shade of the sky. But now I need to step through colors for 12 hours of the day (midnight to midday, then reverse the sequence). Initially that didn’t work, as there’s not enough contrast between adjacent zones to make them distinct from each other. To solve that, I used a gradient for each zone. This helps reinforce the temporal quality of a time zone: even though a single zone is observing the same hour, different longitudes within the zone will have the sun at different heights in the sky.

Final gradient vs. flat (and opaque) fills. Flat just wasn’t cutting it, you can see I struggled with how to handle UTC+13 and +14

So now I have a color scheme that looks pleasing and is relatively intuitive. I’ll admit that it falls a bit short in Eastern Russia, but honestly the time zones in that area are messy enough that it’s very possible that I’d never find a solution that works there.

Infographic-style labels

Once I had colored the time zones, I needed to slap some labels on this map. I started to label this the conventional way, but quickly realized I wasn’t doing the map any justice. It was detracting from the zones, even though the labels I was adding were small, light and as unobtrusive as possible. They were so unobtrusive, they would have caught a lot of flak for being illegible. Up against this lose-lose scenario, I decided a different approach. Stack the labels within the zones along the bottom. This gives some quantitative sense of how many states are in each time zone, instead of the obvious geographic sense.

When curiosity drives you to make yet another map

I learned a lot of things as I put this map together. Some countries just don’t seem to properly “get” time zones (Russia, China, Chile), and in Russia’s case they seem to be constantly adjusting time zones every year (hint: try not leap-frogging over zones). I was a little surprised to see how uncommon it is for countries to observe multiple times, a vast majority of countries stick to a single time. The half-hour timezones initially seemed pretty odd, but it makes a fair amount of sense when most countries that use them are using them correctly (Australia excluded). All this leads to an odd observation, which is that a lot of countries observe the “wrong” time. I assume it’s mostly for geopolitical reasons, some much more obvious than others. For example, a bulk of the European Union is UTC+1, even if it means Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands observe the wrong time. This compelled me to make a second map—something that puts into perspective how many places observe the wrong time.

I really didn’t expect this much red

Luckily it didn’t involve much, after all the work that went into the time zone map. Everything in red observes a time zone other than the natural time zone it lies within. Even though I knew what I was trying to convey with this map, it wasn’t until I was done that I was really able to gauge how much of the world isn’t observing the correct time. The end result is pretty informative, yet still brings up a lot of questions. I never expected the subject of Time Zones to be as complex an interesting as it is, it only took me making an entire map (or two) to figure it out.

Download this map

Since I made these maps on a whim, we figured we could use them for promotional purposes. If you sign up for the Sovereign Limits newsletter (bottom banner of the page) you get an instant download of both the time zone map and the “wrong time” map (at print-quality resolution, I should add). It’s as simple as that. We plan on sending out a newsletter every other month, so as far as newsletters go, its rather unobtrusive.

PS: I couldn’t naturally fit this random tidbit of information into this lengthy blogpost. But it’s just too good to not share so I’ll tack it on here: I’d like to point out that UTC-12, while only half as wide as your typical time zone, only contains the US minor outlying islands of Baker and Howland. Both those islands are uninhabited. So zero people live in this time zone.

An In-depth Look at 3D Buildings

December 3, 2018
Tim Montenyohl

Starting Off with “Simple” 3D Buildings…

My very first project at International Mapping was for an interactive kiosk for Keweenaw National Historic Park, in Calumet, a mining town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Historic buildings were modeled in 3D, while other buildings had the privilege of remaining as footprints.

Calumet circa 1925

All the modeling was done in SketchUp. For architectural modeling, SketchUp can’t be beat. It’s intuitive enough that it only takes a day or two to get the hang of, at which point you can work lightning fast. (At one time SketchUp was owned by Google, and there used to be a free version of it, but sadly that’s no longer the case.)

I really cut my teeth on Calumet. Learning how to simplify details so buildings are distinguishable on a touch screen of a finite resolution. But interactive kiosks aren’t all that common, the National Park Service is far more likely to have a brochure map, or a map on a large panel somewhere. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a few 3D bird’s-eye view maps, each with a different level of detail. I thought if I showed off the most detailed as an example, you’d get a pretty good understanding of my process.

More Complex Environments, More Complex Buildings

The Forge (L) and Slitting Mill (R)

Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site is just north of Boston. It isn’t very big, which means for our 3D map everything gets to be seen in detail. Lots and lots of detail. You can find the whole map amongst our portfolio on our main page, but here’s a close up of the Forge (with the Slitting Mill to the right). The actual structure is pretty simple, it’s the waterwheels and sluices that make this a bit overwhelming.

When I model a building I work from reference photographs. I can never have too many photos. Usually we visit the site with the purpose of taking reference photos.

Temporarily out of service

During the scheduled site visit to Saugus, the waterwheel on one side of the Forge was in the midst of being restored. This isn’t as devastating as you’d initially think, it gives me a great opportunity to see the side of the building that’s typically obstructed by the waterwheel. Scouring the internet for additional photos usually makes up for any gaps in our site visit. One thing I make sure to do when I model, is to go deeper than ground level. This helps create the illusion that the structure is part of the environment that it’s in, as opposed to a toy being dropped in place. As for all that crazy detail on either side of the building, it’s just a matter of taking it one step at a time. Eventually everything adds up…

The Forge, modeled in SketchUp

Et voila! It’s the Forge! Except I’ve only modeled the Forge. It still needs textures. This is a pretty critical step that a lot of people have never given any thought to. This is entirely an art in and of itself. (Pay attention to the credits next time you watch an animated film.) It’s called Texture Mapping or UV mapping. (In 3D space, coordinates are along the X, Y, and Z axes, but once you’ve modeled 3D geometry, you map textures to their planar surface. In that space you refer to the coordinates of the surface as the U and V axes, completely separate from the XYZ space. If that sounds confusing, don’t worry—it is.)

A Primer on 3D Texturing

For Calumet I could get away without any textures, there wasn’t any point to adding that level of detail. Not so with Saugus. SketchUp has rather crude UV mapping abilities. That’s okay, I can roughly map my textures in SketchUp. From there I bring the building into Vue, where the final rendering will ultimately occur. After bringing the Forge into Vue, I can finesse the placement of the textures and tweak their render settings. I’m getting a little ahead of myself however, I need textures to map onto the Forge.

Wood texture used for the Forge

Luckily there are resources online when it comes to acquiring textures. The challenge was finding this wood texture (above), since it needed to match the actual wood of the Forge itself. It’s not an exact match, but it’s definitely close enough. Keep in mind that I’m not aiming for photorealism. The end result is still only a representation of the actual location, and part of the point is to exclude some details and to stylize the ones you do include.

The Forge with crudely mapped textures

So now I’ve added textures to the Forge. (At some point in the texturing process the executive decision was made to open its doors.) You might think that this textured version in SketchUp doesn’t look nearly as impressive as the final render. That’s correct. What you see in SketchUp are the color textures mapped onto the 3D geometry. There’s more to texturing than just color. Look at that roof texture. See those shingles? scroll back up and look at the roof. Different roof! The actual Forge roof doesn’t have contemporary asphalt shingles, it uses long wooden planks, similar to siding. When I UV mapped the roof in SketchUp, I used a roof texture I had on hand. Once in Vue, I swapped that texture out for a bump map. This applies depth to a texture, with black representing low portions, and white representing high.

The bump map for the roof. About as simple as bump maps get.

Bump mapping also makes the stucco of the chimneys actually look like stucco. You can map any aspect of a texture: reflectivity, opacity, specularity. It goes on. It turns out the roof doesn’t need a texture map for the color, a bump map and a flat gray color is all it took to recreate the roof. Instead I could have modeled the individual planks that make up the roof, but that would have been tedious—a bump map is the simplest solution.

There you have it. I’ve breezed through some key aspects of modeling and texturing, while entirely ignoring lighting and rendering. There’s a lot of work that goes into these 3D maps, and hopefully you have a slightly better understanding of the process.

Makes sense to finish on the end product. We can’t have the last image be that bump map, can we?

The Art of Cartography

November 2, 2018
Vickie Taylor

NACIS 2018 Review

I attended the 2018 NACIS (North American Cartographic Information Society) annual meeting in Norfolk, VA. I am a long-time cartographer, but first-time attendee to this conference. There were over 20 presentations for “practical cartography day” and at least 100 presentations during the main conference. Needless to say, the sessions were thoroughly covered by tweets, blogs and videos, so I don’t want to regurgitate what has already been said.

The last session I attended was the most thought-provoking for me; it was titled “Cartography and Fine Art: Exploring Intent and Purpose”. Each of the five presentations in this session touched on methods that deployed artistic skills, techniques and visual creativity (with a bit of added philosophy) to make maps more compelling. The presentations reminded me that cartography is a creative process, interpreting the world through graphic depiction of data for specific purposes or intent. The mediums in which maps are created can provide both constraints and freedom to the design process.

Gunpowder Mapping

Two presentations from the session were about gunpowder mapping, a technique which utilizes a stencil and gunpowder to create interesting patterns and visualizations. Paper, stencil and gunpowder are layered and weighted, then the gunpowder is ignited. The gunpowder burn area is guided by the stencil, but it “escapes” for an artistic effect. National Geographic did an excellent review of the process if you’re interested in some visuals.

Intaglio Printing

Another cartographer discussed his experimentation with intaglio printing. He engraves or etches a map image into a metal plate, and he then applies acid to further engrave the lines. Ink is applied to the surface and transferred to paper. This is an old process that was popular as early as the mid-sixteenth century for the printing of maps.


An old map created using intaglio printing.


Both of these techniques resulted in maps that were a combination of the cartographers’ intent and the unpredictability of the medium. There is a physical interaction that is most appealing to me. I began my career in cartography, etching lines into scribe-coat, cutting areas into peel-coat, and hand placing type onto mylar. One spent hours at a light table and hours in the darkroom. A single map could easily contain 50 or more pieces of art, all to be combined into 4 CMYK plates. The resulting map image was revealed after subsequently applying, burning and rinsing the four process colors, one at a time. While “building” the map, you had a vision of the end product, however, the photomechanical processes always added a bit of its own finesse to the resulting map.

The NACIS meeting brought together a very diverse group of attendees and presenters. Included were programmers searching for ways to visualize data, online map providers that offer custom map platforms for websites and applications, traditional cartographers and students of cartography, and artists re-imagining depictions of the existing earth and creating “fantasy maps” of imaginary worlds. Hopefully, all that attended left with a renewed respect for the “art” of cartography.





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