Shortly after moving to London, Viviane purchased an A-Z Atlas, the most popular way to navigate the complex city prior to the smartphone. Even with the atlas, she kept getting lost. To help, her friend drew this map indicating, in general terms, the location of her flat, and where she could find food. The friend even took time to punch holes in the pages so they could be added to the spiral bound book. Viviane, like many A-Z owners, continued to add her own pages of notes and addendums until the atlas became quite bulky. She wrote, “Now I know my way around London, but I still use the ‘enhanced’ A-Z; I like to be reminded that the world can be confusing at times.”
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.
In revisiting the collection of the Hand Drawn Map Association, I decided to start with this map. It is, as best as I can remember, the first hand-drawn map I collected. I rescued it from the trash at the 2000 World Curling Championships held from April 1 to April 9 at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow, Scotland. I traveled there with my father who was promoting the upcoming 2002 World Curling Championships which would be held in Bismarck, North Dakota.
At the time, I had no intention to collect maps but was instead drawn to the object as a souvenir. Years later I was going through some old paperwork and found this map, along with a few others, in a random file folder. This re-finding of the map inspired me to start this website and begin to collect similar maps people draw for one another.
Drawn from memory, it indicates the relative position of Bismarck to the rest of the United States and Canada. The map offers a fairly accurate representation of the Midwest but is less precise in its effort to depict the East Coast. Note, especially, the placement of Pennsylvania. Typical of hand-drawn maps that illustrate great distances, this example also demonstrates a significant scale shift in its representation of Greenland, Iceland, and Scotland.
Memory maps that chart the location of the US states without referencing any additional resources are common. Below is another map of the United States drawn from memory. No glaring misplacements here, but take note of the shape of Oklahoma. Accuracy isn’t really the goal. These maps are not intended for navigation but instead are meant as explanatory tools or tests of personal geographic aptitude.