Map Marathon


Last weekend I had the pleasure to participate in the seminar: Map Marathon, an event that is part of the annual Frieze Art Fair, based in Regents Park, London. The seminar had an impressive line up of scientists, mathematicians, graphic designers and artists all talking about how mapping can be used and unfolded in different directions and for various purposes. Two sessions caught my mind in particular. One was a presentation made by editor of Wired, David Rowan and Hal Bertram. They revealed the technology behind some amazing new technologies for turning dynamic data into useful mappings. For instance the showed us how OpenStreetMap – an open map system generated by people all over the world – helped the rescue workers when the earthquake hit Haiti, and how the timetables of London buses can show the density of traffic in London. And how the air traffic was monitored during the ash cloud incident last spring.

The other was graphic designer and cartographer Joost Grootens. Joost runs a design studio in Amsterdam, specialized in making books – Atlases in particular. It was impressive to hear Joost explain about the history of mapping, and how the graphic reproductions has developed. The concern of detail in color, typography and precise communication of data in his work, has result in beautifully crafted atlases, that is worth a study in information graphics.

The air traffic of Europe. London Heathrow being the most busy one.

The air traffic of London, projected slightly from the side. Red=departures, blue=arrivals.

The density of traffic in London.