The neighborhood maps I’ve been sharing recently are some of my favorites in the collection. This drawing hits on all of the best qualities of hand-drawn maps. It includes personal recommendations, can be used for navigation, and has a striking visual appearance. Justin drew it for his friends when they were visiting him in Venice, California. They wanted to spend some time checking out what made the neighborhood unique, so he recommended the canals and included his favorite pizza place.
The maps pictured here are of the Fishtown neighborhood in Philadelphia. Like many neighborhoods, there are no true boundaries of the area, and the definition is somewhat malleable. Haughery’s map makes the case that Frankford Avenue can be considered a boundary between Fishtown to the southeast and Kensington to the northwest.
Olah drew the second map for guests attending a party held for Fabric Workshop and Museum apprentices. She idealizes the somewhat confusing layout of streets and highlights the triangular structure of the area where William Penn’s original grid plan for the city breaks down in unexpected ways.
Krista’s friend, Dimitris, drew this map for her when she was traveling through Greece. No one could remember the exact address of her friend’s mother’s place where she would be staying, so she used this map to find the house after arriving on the island.
As far as I can tell, this is the first map I collected. Drawn 10 years before I founded the Hand Drawn Map Association, it provides directions to three places in Chicago: the music venues Lounge Ax (now closed) and Empty Bottle, as well as the BFA graduation exhibition for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Sadly, I can not remember who drew this map. Whoever it was, they were a SAIC student living in the loft on Wabash Avenue where we stayed. If it was you, please let me know!
George drew this map while attending Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India for a year of study in 1969.
The fictional archipelago of Montablan originated years earlier in his imagination while mowing the yard of his childhood home in Iowa. Driven by his contempt of cutting grass, he fantasized himself as one of a group of exploited workers on the island of Lospania who were planning a revolt.
As he grew older, the island remained in his imagination, expanding into a small archipelago of closely allied islands. The place names are influenced by aspects of Indian culture as well as his love of American football. The references in the map to places such as Talortown and Talorado, for example, are a misspelling of Jim Taylor, a fullback for the Green Bay Packers from 1958-1962.
Larry and his family received this map while visiting distant relatives in southern Italy. After a visit in Barrea, Larry’s hosts drew the driving route to Sorrento, 187 km to the south on the Gulf of Naples.
Purple Wyrm mapped a home that frequently occurs in their dreams. While much of the home and the space surrounding it remain a mystery, the hatstand near the front door and the dark windows on the veranda are consistent signifiers.
This map depicts the location of the Large Hadron Collider built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) beneath the France/Switzerland border. Kersting drew it at a pub in St. Paul, Minnesota over a discussion with friends at a local pub. A few days before the particle collider was set to be used for the first time, the group discussed the scientific experiments that would be conducted there. The references to “Cam” indicates the location of their mutual friend who lived in Switzerland at the time.
This anonymous frustration map originated in boredom. The creator drew it while waiting thirty minutes for their boss to arrive at a disciplinary meeting. They continue, “this is the third meeting I’ve been asked to attend for minor offenses. I’m convinced my boss is arranging them for his own amusement. It is completely accurate (except for the pelican) but not exactly to scale.”
In the early days of the HDMA, I accepted files for the website through drop.io, a service later bought by Facebook. Using drop.io was very easy, and, if you chose, anonymous. This means I received many files without identifying information or accompanying email addresses. Ahh…the early internet.
I referred to them as the “lost maps,” and I still have a folder with these random drawings. These are two of the best. The map above was easily identifiable as the Mill Hill district of London, and, with a little extra research, the map below was determined to be Doha, Qatar.