January 17, 2008

Seven Offbeat Approaches to Mapping the World (Past, Present and Future)

Filed under: Interesting Images,World of Weird — Tags: , , , , , — OddO @ 3:33 pm

Ever wonder what the world really looks like through someone else’s eyes? Representations of the planet have changed with the times as have the people who made them. These are just a few strange, innovative and/or humorous examples past, present and future.

Cargtogram Economic Population and Voting Maps

Cartograms such as those above are a way to represent statistical information in visual form, expanding and contracting areas of a typical map to show various kinds of information and a readily understandable format. Above are a map of the world showing resource distribution and a map of American political affiliations. For more technology empowered mapping, see the US’s evolving obesity over time and energy production potential as well as this map of world economic activity.

Map of Singles in the United States

Ever have trouble finding a date? Well, this map may be for you! National Geographic did a survey and mapped the relative proportions of female and male singles throughout the United States. The result: a relative abundance of men on the West Coast and women on the East Coast, so choose accordingly! Maybe West Coast should spend less time looking at maps of the Star Wars and Star Trek universes and pick up some maps that made history.

High Resolution World Map 1500

Ever wonder what the world looked like 500 years ago? It used to be that high-resolution world maps like the one above were kept (at best) in glass cases in museums or (at worse) were secreted away in vaults. Now antique maps are readily available to the world via sites like Wikipedia and are changing the way (and resolution) in which we look at the past.

Strange Historical British Glove Map

Ever write or draw maps or directions on your hand? Believe it or not this is nothing new. These gloves were created for the 1850 Great Exhibition in London and enabled visitors to easily find their way. Imagine the possibilities of this in the digital age: an ever-shifting GPS-based glove map that changes orientation and location with the wearer!

Interesting Maps of the Internet

Japanese Subway Map of the Internet

There have been many attempts to ‘map the internet‘ in various forms and with differing degrees of success. Some of these are more convincing than others, such as the first series above that depicts information transfer overlaid on a world map. Some simply make points about the relationships of key internet players in a familiar way, such as the subway map of the internet. Another curious internet phenomenon: here is a list of places blurred out from Google Earth.

Future World Map Pangea Ultima

With the past and the present covered, what about the future? Well, scientists have developed a map of what the world is predicted to look like in 250 million years that bears a remarkable resemblance what scientists speculated the world did look like in the equally distant past. This Future World, like Pangea, is a place where all of the continents are again pushed together to form one or two mega-continents. Still want more maps? A great collection of 175 maps spanning 4,000 years is available for purchase.


  1. Maps, you have to love them. They tell so much about the world…
    For more weird maps, look at this website: http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/ (it’s linked in the article but it’s a really great website)

    Comment by BaroqueW — January 18, 2008 @ 11:55 am

  2. Very cool.

    I remember that there was a tv show where a guy took the concept of a “round world on a flat map” to a new level. Pretty much, his concept was to do it in the pattern of a peeled orange. Countries were all over the place, but they were actually to scale, unlike the “standard” world map, where Greenland is 4 times its normal size.

    Comment by Dave Nofmeister — January 18, 2008 @ 2:47 pm

  3. It would be a pretty neat trick to reverse time to return to Pangea. As Asia and the Americas are on a collision course…. It would be a bit Surprising to have things end up the way they are shown above.

    Comment by JavaK — January 19, 2008 @ 10:40 am

  4. These are amazing illustrations. The last one looks like that super continent that existed millions of years ago. perhaps a full circle for floating Techtotic plates.

    but LOL, I like the US singles best.

    Comment by Planet Apex — January 25, 2008 @ 6:50 am

  5. india will be island in that center of trapped ocean. that is 100 percent true …bcoz india called once as jamoo dweepa!! as in mentioned traditional mythology

    Comment by prashanth venkataswamy — October 21, 2009 @ 12:50 am

  6. What would the new super continent be called? Tell me

    Comment by Anonymous Person — February 16, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

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