What Is Map Art


A map depicts a symbolic representation of the elements of space like objects, themes, or regions. Most maps, especially in the ancient times are static and fixed to some durable medium like paper. Today, maps are more interactive and dynamic because of technology which provides the tools to diversify the traditional presentation of maps.

The evolution of map art is best appreciated in today’s map illustrations that are more fascinating and visual. People can easily connect the illustrations in map art making the place easier to locate. Maps commonly illustrate geography while they can also represent a real or fictional space regardless of context or scale particularly in brain mapping, computer topology mapping, and DNA mapping. The space that is mapped may be two-dimensional like the earth’s surface, three-dimensional like the inner parts of the earth, or more conceptual spaces.

The first maps that were known and created were of the heavens, however, geographic territorial maps have long been existing already in the historic times. The origin of the word “map” came from a medieval Latin term “Mappa mundi” where the word mappa connotes cloth or napkin and mundi means the world. Map, then was the shortened word that refers to the exterior part of the world.

There are geographic maps such as road maps that are most widely used today. They are a division of navigational maps that include nautical and aeronautical charts, biking maps, hiking maps, and railroad maps. Local surveys that are conducted by cities and municipalities, tax assessors, utilities, emergency service agencies, and other local units comprise the largest number of illustrated maps.

The large areas of the map are often “physical” or “political.” Physical maps display geographic features such as mountains, land use which includes roads, building and railroads, and soil type. Political maps show the territorial boarders of the place.

A map illustration requires much skills and technical abilities as well as deep imagination and creativity to produce an excellent picture of any map art. The development of visual maps has contributed much to the convenience of illustration artists as well the people who travel because the places and things are more optical which is easier to understand.

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