Saturday, May 24, 2014

Love Will Tear These Maps Apart


Peter Saville's design for the sleeve of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album is one of the most loved examples of music cover art. The white on black lines of the album cover were inspired by an image of radio pulsar waves.

This iconic design has now become one of the biggest influences on map design. Mapbox are the latest cartographers to take inspiration from Peter Saville's design. San Francisco Terrain visualizes the topography and contours of San Francisco with height being shown on the map by a series of black lines on a white background.


Elevation Lines is a Leaflet map which also takes inspiration from the Unknown Pleasures album in its design. The map also visualizes elevation data as a series of vertical lines, presenting a global view of elevation data. With Elevation Lines you can even click on the map to add a profile path between any two points.


This Worldwide Population map also owes design inspiration to Joy Division's iconic album cover. The map uses d3.js to create a map of the world which represents population density by latitude.

The map uses population data from NASA. You can select to view the population densities for a number of different years, which means that you can view how the global population has changed over the last twenty years. The map was inspired by James Cheshire’s Population Lines. If you find this population visualization as beautiful as I do you can buy prints of James' map from his website.
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