University of Chicago sophomore Sasha Trubetskoy spent a few weeks designing this amazing subway-style transit map of all the roads in the Roman Empire circa 125 AD. As Kottke notes, Rome constructed 250,000 miles of roads starting in 300 BC—over 50,000 miles of which were paved with stone—linking a total of 113 provinces from Spain to modern day Britain to the northern tip of Africa.
Trubetskoy pulled data from numerous sources, but took liberties where the history is fuzzy. “The biggest creative element was choosing which roads and cities to include, and which to exclude,” he shares. “There is no way I could include every Roman road, these are only the main ones. I tried to include cities with larger populations, or cities that were provincial capitals around the 2nd century.”
Designing a public transit map can be a complicated process, taking months if not years to create a concise layout that can be interpreted quickly for commuters on the go. To make things easier to understand the obvious decision is to use symbolic geography in lieu of real maps so that everything fits in a legible manner. Over at the subreddit r/DataIsBeautiful, Reddit user vinnivinnivinni had thew idea to create an animated comparison of a Berlin subway map compared to its real geography. The post went viral and several other users chimed in with their own contributions. Gathered here are some of the best examples, but you can see a few more on Twisted Sifter (gotta love Austin).
The Klencke Atlas published in 1660 is one of the most famous objects in the British Library's cartographic collection, a towering book that stands nearly 6 feet tall and reaches over seven feet wide when open. For over three centuries the atlas was the largest in existence, surpassed only five years ago by Millennium House's gigantic publication Earth Platinum.
The collection of maps was named after Johannes Klencke (1620-1672), the leader of a collection of Dutch sugar merchants who presented the atlas to Charles II as a hope to gain favorable trade agreements with Britain. The object was subsequently placed amongst the king’s most prized possessions, and stayed tied to royalty for the next 150 years.
“The Klencke atlas is important both in itself, and for its constituent parts,” said Tom Harper, lead curator of antiquarian maps at the British Library in an article about the atlas. “As an object, its scale and conception recalled Renaissance ideas relating to the symbolic power of a book which contained the entire world’s knowledge. It would have provided Charles with intellectual authority, an authority which enforces its intimidating presence even today.”
The Klencke Atlas went on public view in 2010 after considerable restoration, and was digitized by the British Library just last month. It took several hands to transport and mount the ancient work onto an XXXL book stand for high resolution photography, and digitization took several days in order to capture each of the included maps. You can view this online version of the atlas on the British Library’s website, and watch a time-lapse video of the digitization process supported by Daniel Crouch Rare Books. (via Hyperallergic)
Industrial designer and jeweler Talia Sari has been producing rings, necklaces, and brooches based off of customized maps for nearly 6 years. Her works are simple recreations of personalized locations, presenting the surrounding streets of one’s home plated in 24k gold or silver. The series, titled You Are Here, is currently on Kickstarter to help with photo etching fees for the creation of the works. Sari also has an Etsy for her project, with several pre-made pieces that depict cities such as London, Paris, and New York City. You can see more cities from her collection, or create your own, on Sari’s website. (via Culture N Lifestyle)
Mini Metros is an ongoing series of worldwide public transit maps that have been “shrunken and simplified” into tiny diagrams by D.C.-based designer Peter Dovak. So far he’s completed over 200 light rail and metro systems and made them available in different configurations as posters and mugs on Society6. (via Kottke)
On a platform filled with glamorous travel images from across the globe, Australian artist Damien Rudd’s account @sadtopographies contributes quite the opposite. Rudd finds the most depressing sounding rivers, lakes, and roads via Google Maps, screenshotting and posting their sad names for his audience of 64,000 followers. Each of his finds are extremely humorous, yet beg us to wonder what series of events could have possibly lead to their naming.
In case you wanted to match your winter mood to “Despair Island” rather than some white sand beach off of the coast of Bali, head over to Rudd’s Instagram for a dose of Suffering St. and Broken Dreams Dr. (via Booooooom)