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.
Alec’s map of Barcelona is an example of a truly useful hand-drawn map. Drawn while he was on vacation, it highlights a number of architectural sites and museums. Among the landmarks are several Antoni Gaudi buildings, the Forum 2004, the Gas Natural Building, and the Music Palace.
After not receiving one of the few daily hiking permits to climb Mt. Whitney via the standard Whitney Trail, an experienced hiker suggested Mark Morey and his friends take the lesser-used Mountaineering Route. He sketched this map for them which they used to navigate the nine-mile route in the early 1990’s.
Mark recounts, “over the next two days, we saw no other people except at the summit. We had a lot of route debate [as well as] the most glorious hike and summit of Whitney. On the way up, we found all of the landmarks drawn on the map, however, on our way down, we realized that none of those were the ones he meant us to find.”
Some of the best maps in the HDMA collection relate geographic concepts often drawn to accompany a conversation about a particular place. Those shown here attempt to relate the size and scale of one of the largest countries by total land area, Canada. Jeff Werner drew the map above to explain the size and orientation of the country and the rest of North America to a group of villagers in Bali.
The map below was drawn on a napkin by Peter Flemming for Lars Midboe during a conversation they were having in a bar in Trondheim, Norway. Midboe found the map months later in a bag and scanned it into his computer for safekeeping.
Here a seemingly insignificant object, a cocktail napkin, captures a historic moment in United States history: the presidential primary campaign of Barack Obama. Handwerker, the recipient of the napkin, recounts the story of the object in the style of a museum didactic:
“Born in France, Bernard Bonnet became a United States citizen on July 25, 2007. This made him eligible to vote in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, arguably the most groundbreaking race in that nation’s history. Bonnet, a book buyer at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), fervently supported Democratic Senator Barack Obama (American, born 1961), voting in the Texas primary election and caucusing for the candidate on March 4th, 2008. Three days before the caucus, Bonnet attended an exhibition opening at the MFAH, where he created this hand drawn map for his co-worker, Margo Handwerker. A fellow Obama supporter, Handwerker needed directions to the Obama volunteer office on Southmore Blvd. in Houston, Texas.”
Witthoft submitted this map created by his friend Damian. While visiting London, he used it to navigate to “the bar with the tiny margaritas.” Drawn on a notebook page annotated with Jan Tschichold’s idealized margins, the cartographer barely breaks the boundaries of modernist perfection.
A circa 2008 cell phone photo from Carlo reveals a map he created while passing time at work. Realizing an accidental coffee stain looked much like a continent, he traced the different hues to create countries and deemed the area Staines. This early addition to the HDMA web archive is also the first example I collected of a meta map, or map within a map. Here we not only see Carlo’s fictional territory Staines but also the seating chart of the restaurant where he was working.