Monday, March 5, 2012

Essential Geography of the United States of America

My appreciation of geography outside of studying the covers of the classic Belgariad series and the indices of Middle Earth are, to say the least, latent. But the underdog story of David Imus's creation, "The Essential Geography of the United States of America", an enchanting, edifying and information infused map of the United States, is as compelling as it is educational.

Winner of the prestigious “Best of Show” award at the annual competition of the Cartography and Geographic Information Society, the highest honor that only the geekiest of cartogrophiles would remember (that's right, I just made up a word), Imus's map is the equivalent of an information-rich, geography-is-delicious layer cake. Check out the masterful shading of the sub-oceanic architecture of the Hawaii islands, something I have been wondering about for seven years. I kid you not.

Bob Welch's lovely article, "A labor of love finally validated" describes Imus's torturous climb up the cartographic ranks. A masterful review of the map itself can be found at the Slate article, "The Greatest Paper Map of the United States You’ll Ever See: Made by one guy in Oregon" by Seth Stevenson.

Buy one of these darn things to educate your self, your classroom, your kids and America, who could use a reminder that the artistry and labors of one guy in Eugene, Oregeon can be greater than all the corporate buying power of every big name cartography institution in all the States.

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