Is the traditional map lost?
A map in the traditional sense is a ‘figurative representation of dimensions, attributes, and relations of things in the physical world’.1 They communicate by use of symbols, lines, patterns and colours to symbolize various terrains, routes, territories and locations. They are essential in modern day life for helping people gain an orientation of their surroundings, make decisions, strategizing a route from point a to b or even plot events in time. ‘…they allow us to see a world that is too large and complex to be seen directly’ 2 This could mean geographically or even logically.
Maps are a means of communicating detailed information as clearly and as accurately as possible. This is achieved by representing space through iconography and symbols. The map is rarely ever a true representation of the original, but usually a scaled down simplified version. ‘…not a copy of a space, but a way of opening space through information’ 3
Therefore, for a map to be considered successful it must communicate effectively to its audience. The symbols and pictograms used in the maps often make use of simple visual semiotics, such as symbols, colour schemes, pattern and lines so that anyone with an experience in referencing maps can decipher them. However any good map will usually be designed with a key or legend to explain what the various marks mean to the uneducated or to introduce any unique map specific graphic elements.
‘A good map primarily needs to successfully communicate a visual representation of an area.’
The conventional symbols and icons are used successfully to represent towns, terrain, roads, railways and other ‘points of interest’. However, over the years, ‘The language of cartography has become so ingrained that it has become invisible. We do not question the connection between the blue line on a map and the idea of a river.’ 4 This perceived mainstream knowledge of the graphic design of maps allows for a post-modern play on the expectations and conventions of mapping by designers and artists alike, challenging the expectations of cartography.
In summary, a good traditional map communicates information in a clean and concise manner which enables the end-user to turn it into knowledge. However advances in technology mean that communicating this information may not be best served through the medium of print.
In 2003 3G Mobile phones (the third generation of standards in mobile technology) became readily available, enabling users to connect to the internet via their phones and granting them access to a wealth of online content including videos, up to the minute news and most interestingly GPS Maps pinpointing the users exact location.
This coupled with the advent of in-car automotive navigation systems such as the TomTom satellite navigation system are slowly rendering conventional print based maps obsolete and could slowly replace other graphical navigational systems such as directional road signs in the near future.
‘Indeed, the art of getting lost seems, itself to be in danger of getting lost, as more as more devices are conceived to provide easy access to geo spatial information’
Does any member of the general public physically need a print based map when modern day technology can communicate a persons exact location to within a few metres and direct them to a destination of their choosing, avoiding certain routes if the user so wishes all within a few seconds? Is there any need for traditional print based maps requiring the user to decipher their own route?
In the past, the communication would have been the task of cartographers and designers, but now that representations of the areas are screen based and are re-rendered every hundredth of a second, these valued skills could now be considered devalued and outdated in comparison to modern day technology.
This essay attempts to investigate the evolution of mapping over the past century and explore the notion of ‘post modern mapping’. A new wave of self-referencing maps, appropriating the techniques and design elements utilized in earlier maps to produce a subversive take on the general understood rules of cartography. They communicate either the same information in a deconstructed, unpractical manner, or to represent more arbitrary, personal, informal information in the traditional way.
In order to investigate the idea of an evolution in mapping, the traditional conventions must first be addressed. In geographical maps the orientation of compass direction usually follows the rule of North being at the top most part of the map. In terms of scale, maps are usually downsized for convenience and stick to this scale consistently in all areas. To aid the reader a scale will almost always be present on a part of the map displayed against a unit of length, keeping all elements of the map to a consistent scale and allowing the reader to use the increments of this chosen unit to measure the distance between points of interest. For example 1:100,000 represents that 1cm equates to 100,000cm or 1 kilometre (See figure1)
The use of colour to show territorial boundaries or changes in geographic nature. Although on older monochrome maps this will have been shown via shading and texture as apposed to colour, due to restrictions of inks available and costs. The aesthetical design of maps has evolved a long way from the old geographical depictions; none more so than today’s transport maps, which played a huge part in how graphic designers today try and communicate data, both geographical and logical.
One of the most iconic and influential maps of the 20th century was the London Underground Tube Map designed by Henry C Beck in 1930. 5 The map is highly influential, particularly in the transport area of mapping and changed the way maps are designed.
With the advent of the industrial revolution in the 18th century, advances were made in transportation introducing many new roads, canals and railway lines to Britain and eventually the world. These systems were created in order to transport raw materials to factories across the country. 7
The London Underground system came to fruition as part of the aftermath of the industrial revolution and the first section was opened in 1863. 8
In 1891 London had a population of 5,572,000, and by 1921 this number would rise to 7,387,000 9 In order to accommodate more passengers, more stations and lines were added to the system.In 1925 The London Underground had well over 130 Stations mapped out. At this point in time the design of the map had done away with the convention of overlaying the lines onto a street map and concentrated instead on conveying the necessary information about the rail system.
The London Underground Map (1925)
‘It slowly began to be recognized that you do not necessarily need to know exactly what street you are travelling under when you are in fact below the surface.’ 10
Typographic labeling of the stations changed from hand rendered lettering (figure 3), a staple of conventional mapping up until that point, to a sans serif font designed by Edward Johnston in 1913 (figure 4). Johnston’s font is a typical sans-serif in that it is legible even from a distance, appropriate for use on the tube map and on station signage for quick understanding and orientation of rushed passengers.
The London Underground Map (1913)
The Uppercase letter O of the font is also a perfect geometric circle, a symbol of flawlessness and perfection, a symbolism London underground wanted to for its quick, regular and reliable service. The circle is also reminiscent of the roundel used in the Underground logo. (Figure 5)
‘Unlike the German sans-serif faces such as future, which appeared at the same time, the letters retained many of the traditional subtleties of varying thickness of line’ This will have made the font appear less mechanic and more human, not effecting legibility but producing a more enticing friendly look, so as not to alienate an audience which will have for years prior to this revolutionary font been used to a less modernist, calligraphy based appearance.
Despite the change from hand drawn text to sans-serif based letter pressing, the underground map was still visually cramped and messy. Depicting London as a disorganized mesh of coloured lines and typography. The Capital would need a map which depicted the sprawling metropolis in a much simpler effective manner. Henry C Beck completed his first sketch for the London tube map in 1931. 12 A radical innovation not seen on any other map elsewhere in the world at that point in time. Beck’s map (Figure 6) retained the clarity of Johnston’s typeface but changed the depiction of the lines and station positioning from the geographically accurate 1925 predecessor, to neater versions traveling in straight horizontal and vertical lines and 45 degree angles. The map sticks rigidly to a modern modular grid. ‘The inclusion of the River Thames winding across the lower half of the diagram gives a sense of place and scale’ 13 and lets users of the system know exactly which side of the river their destination is on. ‘The use of Johnston’s typeface completed the maps geometric authority’ 14 Beck’s map is a classic piece of modernist design in that it tries to represent the City of London as being a utopian society through its use of function over form and substance over style. Not to say that the tube map does not have a visual style, as it does; a very minimalist one. But that Instead the design of the map was not concerned with conforming to an aesthetical standard but adhering to a strict level of functionality. Every element of the design, the coloured lines signifying different railways, to the diamond shape station interchange symbols, is there for a reason, and not just for decoration.
Peter Childs in his book ‘Modernism’ states that ‘other characteristics are a focus on the city and a championing as well as fear of technology; technical experimentation allied with radical stylistic innovation; a suspicion of language as a medium for comprehending explaining the world.’ 15
In Beck’s case the map attempted to communicate the intricacy and complexity of the underground network and the city to the masses through the clean layout, well structured lines and simple, uncomplicated language.
The ‘diagram seems to render London as a dynamic landscape of flawless interconnectivity, its continued use also underscores an often less than efficient daily relationship with the city’  taking the modernist stance of trying to better society through design to create a utopian modern world. In this case taking a sprawling metropolis and trying to maintain order through the simplicity of the map. This seems to be a direct response to the ‘return to order’ phase of post-war futurism which was present in art and design through the 1920′s.
The First World War administered a huge shock to European society. One of the artistic responses to it was to reject the extreme avant-garde forms of art that had proliferated before the war. Instead, more reassuring and traditional approaches were adopted
Cubism was abandoned even by its creators, Braque and Picasso, and Futurism, which had praised machinery, violence and war, was rejected by most of its followers. The return to order was associated with a revival of classicism and realistic painting.
Beck’s map completely disregards this realism in favor of distorting the truth, and championing the machine. In this case the correct geo-spatial layout of the lines and stations to communicate clearly the information passengers need to navigate the twisting tunnels of the underground. Comparing the diagrammatically designed map to its international counterparts during the early nineteen thirties, it is evident that the London map was revolutionary and unparalleled in terms of clarity. Many of Beck’s innovations and aesthetics can be seen in maps that precede his original.
The 1935 Moscow Metro map (figure 7) looks outdated and unsophisticated in comparison to Beck’s effort despite having a fraction of the stations to include in the design, thirteen in total by 1935. The map is still geographic and potentially very confusing despite the small scale, reasoning for this could be ‘years of restrictions on paper, printing and use of colour; brought about by rationing and war.’ 18
However, the 1935 map has changed drastically when compared with its modern day counterpart designed by Artemy Lebedev (figure . In what undoubtedly must have been because of heavy influence from Beck and the London map, Moscow metro removed the street element from the design and kept only the Moskva River has the only identifiable geographic feature, a very similar direction Beck took in 1933.
Perhaps the only exception to this rule of influence is the New York subway map. Which despite taking inspiration from Beck’s map and flirting with the idea of diagrammatic rather than geographic design, never completely changed. It is a perfect example of how maps can be rejected by the society they are created to serve and proves that constant evolution is needed to keep up with an ever changing world.
In 1938 probably as a direct response to the groundbreaking London map The Independent Subway Lines released a rather simple map (Figure 9) that was stylistically similar to the London map in that it did away with the street grid and accurate geography for the sake of legibility.
In 1948 the map returned to its geographic routes before yet again in 1959 attempting a graphical approach. This iteration would last until 1972 when Massimo Vignelli would attempt to brand the New York Subway with a consistent signage and map system.
Vignelli’s branding of the Subway, Like Beck and Gill’s of the London system, called upon classic modernist design to make sense of the cities network. The New York subway is especially complex as it is ‘an amalgamation of three separate systems two of which incorporated earlier urban railway lines.’ 
Vignelli’s branding of the system made use extensively of the Swiss sans-serif font Helvetica, due to its legibility and clear-cut characters. It had also just been released a few years prior to Vignelli’s first map making it an original choice over fonts such as Akzidenz-Grotesk in which the typeface is based or Gill Sans which was already in use by The London Underground.
The map (figure 10) took the previous attempts at modernism in the New York Subway map and improved upon them by making minute differences in the choice of form and colour. The line stroke was changed to a thicker value, allowing easy reference by passengers from a distance.
Coloured lines are vibrant and stand out against the drab colourless geographical features in the background, which ingeniously help give placement without distracting from the main information. This clever use of browns and beiges compliments the multitude of colours on the lines well and doesn’t interfere as much as say a map with a plethora of blue in the background would. Given the unique geographic position of the islands of New York City next to many rivers and the vast Atlantic Ocean, the map would have been full of this particular colour when including certain geographic elements.
Based on the success of metro maps in other cities from the 1930′s until that point in time, the New York map should have been a runaway success. It was clear, legible and more consistent with the branding of its rail system than any other map since Beck’s iconic design; however it was not and lasted until only 1979, when superseded by Michael Hertz’s design.
The problem with Vignelli’s New York City map was the sacrifice of geography, which although a successful, recurring design element in other cities transport maps, was not appreciated by the general public. The famous street grid was completely absent from the map, and so New Yorker’s began trying to navigate the city by the positioning of the stations on the subway map.
‘Vignelli for example showed 50th street – Broadway Station west of 50th Street – 8th Avenue station when in reality it is east.’ 
The reason why New York is alone in this problem and why cities like London have never encountered this backlash against its map is the nature of the street layout. New York is a perfect grid of Streets and Avenues, residents would easily be able to tell you the distance in Blocks between any 2 addresses, when the map communicates a different visual distance that is not true to scale or location confusion arises.
Problems also surface with regard to the mapping of the parks. A unique addition to New York’s subway maps, but one that is understandable. Central Park alone covers 6% of Manhattan. Such a prominent geographical feature breaking up the city would have been as vital to Vignelli and this map as the Thames was to Beck’s. The problem being the Thames’ shape and from was not entirely accurate but suitable for showing the positioning of South London Stations and North London ones. The shape of Central park is completely wrong, depicted in Vignelli’s map as a vague rounded square, ‘when in fact it is three times as long as it is wide’ 
Despite taking a large amount of inspiration from Beck’s map, and producing one of the most classical pieces of modernist design, to the masses the map did not work for it’s users, failing to communicate it’s message and was as such deemed a failure.
From these examples, it is clear that Beck’s map was indeed unrivalled at the time of its conception and was also a great inspiration to map makers and cartographers everywhere in the years to follow. The concept of streamlining information into a form which is more readily able to communicate quicker, easier and more efficiently with it’s audience has been replicated the world over. Beck’s map has become such a huge part of the culture of mapping, graphic design and London as a whole and is so recognizable that it is also subject to an array of parodies, homage and spoofs. Some playful, some out of love for the original and even some to create serious pieces of modern art.
Of all the homage’s and works influenced by Beck’s map perhaps the most controversial and infamous is a piece of modern art created by Simon Patterson in 1992. Patterson is an artist with a reputation for creating works that ‘transmutes familiar information classification systems-maps, slide rules, air traffic route plans, and star charts for example by imposing new information on them’  Patterson’s The Great Bear (figure 11), from a distance, looks visually identical to an early 90′s version of the London ‘Tube’ map. However, there is one small difference, the key to lines and London Underground heading and all the station names have been changed.
Each of the original 13 lines on the 1992 map has been changed to categories such as Engineers, Footballers, and Musicians. So any station/famous name along these lines correspond with the category they are on.
‘Tube riders can joy-ride among figures of history and popular culture, traveling from a philosopher to a newscaster and passing a comedian, a newscaster, or a saint along the way…’ 
Patterson dealt with the problem of interchange stations by finding people who cross the boundaries of one category into another. John Barnes appears under both footballers; as the Liverpool FC player b. 1963  and under musicians as renowned Jazz musician John Barnes b. 1932  Other than placing the relevant name at the right intersection of certain lines there is no reason for the placement of the other names. It is no alphabetical, nor has it any geographical reasoning, it is completely arbitrary. The map appears to be pointing up the arbitrariness of the original and the nature of systems of classification, it arises in a different intellectual and historical context from that of modernist philosophy, while at the same time demonstrating a manipulation of the real world.
Patterson’s map was critically acclaimed upon it’s completion and in 1996 following on from several exhibitions featuring the great bear was shortlisted for the turner prize.
This piece has the characteristics and attributes of what could be considered a post modern map. In much the same way Post-Modern design attempts to subvert and challenge design, this is challenging the way people perceive maps, in this case taking one of the most recognized maps in the world and turning an aspect of it on it’s head, in this case replacing the map labels but retaining the overall design. ‘The reader uses accepted mapping rules to try and figure it all out.’  Other than being a method of categorizing different historical figures and modern day celebrities into genres and sub-groups there is no real function of this map. It does not communicate any geographical information, but instead communicating something logical.
Patterson himself has been quoted as saying ‘’I like disrupting something people take as read’ An iconic piece of design that is seen hundreds of thousands of times a day and something which many of the commuters on the London underground transport system probably neglect to even look at having traveled on the lines for years. The title of the piece The Great Bear itself refers to the constellation Ursa Major, a punning reference to Patterson’s own arrangement of ‘stars’. Patterson also completed a very similar piece titled J.P233 in c.s.o Blue, 1992 (Figure 12), in this work a flight path map has been taken and the airport names has been changed like in The Great Bear famous people through history.
In a more drastic subversion of the integrity of the original, but not in any attempt to undermine the design, is a geographically accurate map of the London Underground, (see figure 13) designed using the same level of detail and minimalism as many of the modern day tube maps but minus the 45 degree angles. The result is a map which is completely impractical due to length of lines extending outwards from the centre of the city into the suburbs. It is useful for showing the actual distance between stations and the correct routes of the lines.
An interesting piece of experimental graphic design which gives an insight into what the map may have looked liked today without the intervention of Beck’s design.
For Mark Ovenden’s book on the international variations of subway map’s Metro maps of the world, the author gained the permission of Transport for London to reproduce his own map in the likeness of a modern version of Beck’s showing the major metropolitan areas of the world that feature subway systems. (see figure 14)
Like Beck’s the map bends the geographical truth slightly for clarity, the map is also less of a carbon copy than Patterson’s The Great Bear, the map does feature the unique forms of the original map in similar places, e.g. the south-western Heathrow Airport loop of the Piccadilly Line is retained, altered in shape slightly and now featuring stations such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janerio.
In a time when almost all the known world has been mapped, and Beck’s map has been influential the world over Ovendon has put a spin on both the conventional World Atlas and the London Tube Map,
The idea of representing the whole world as a tube map also suggests the idea of the world on a smaller scale. Ovendon seems to be trying to emphasize the ease of transportation in the 21st century, jumping on a plane to a country halfway across the world is as easy as traveling from Camden Town to London Bridge (6 stops on the northern line)
From a commercial point of view the map’s unique style has also been borrowed for the sake of selling products. A recent billboard advertisement by microprocessor corporation Intel titled ‘London by laptop’ features a Beck-style map where the station names are replaced by café’s, shops, pubs and restaurants all offering wireless broadband.
‘The Intel advertisement borrows Beck’s diagram in order to map, not worn out Underground purgatory but a kind of blue-tooth communications utopia’ again, representing a perfect, clean, efficient society through modernist map design.
After nearly 80 years in use the original design still works, it has been changed and tweaked in places slightly to allow for newly build stations and lines, but the original framework of Beck’s iconic design can still be seen.
The fact the tube map has become so ingrained in our culture means that it gives artists the designers the opportunity to subvert and subject it to parodies
The map has many spoofs, homage’s and has helped to encourage the new phenomenon of subversive mapping. Which in turn has interjected humor and wit into what many people would consider to be a stale and boring medium, it has given designers the chance to be experimental with the format and produce pieces not for helping people plot a route from ‘a’ to ‘b’ as traditional maps would have but to challenge the perceived conventions of mapping. However, while designers and cartographers enjoy an unparalleled level of creativity when designing diagrammatic maps. Creators of more geographic based road maps, such as the A to Z or ordinance survey run the risk of their creations being made redundant in the 21st century though the introduction of GPS mapping systems. In a world where the functional printed map is clumsy and outdated compared with the sophistication of new technology is their any practical use for maps.
3.3 GPS SYSTEMS
The ordinance survey was first introduced in 1790 at this point in time ‘Europe was in turmoil, and there were real fears that the French Revolution might sweep across the English Channel. Realizing the danger, the government ordered its defense ministry – the Board of Ordnance – to begin a survey of England’s vulnerable southern coasts.’  It was from these survey’s that the first accurate, scale maps of Britain were produced. The map has since its conception gone through a handful of stylistic changes, being updated to include more information and taking advantage of the various technological advances in both data capture and printing. The first iteration of the map was very illustrative, being completely hand drawn and printed in monochrome. Even at this early stage the maps introduced a consistent key for various map markings, such as clear white lines for roads, thin black lines for railways and patterned areas representing woodlands., these markings would form the basis for the ordinance surveys key for years to come. These version’s predecessors would retain most of these markings and symbols, building up a library of icons that readers of the maps could understand and reference with ease. Introductions of better printing technologies brought maps with added colour. In perhaps a testament to the success of the OS maps, in a similar way to how the London Underground map was revered, a piece of subversive, self referencing postmodernist design involving the OS maps was designed in 1991 by Howard Brown (figure 15), with a series of 4 commemorative stamps for Royal Mail, each stamp featuring the same Kentish town, one of the first to be mapped originally, represented across four main eras of the Ordinance survey’s history. Each era with its own unique history and visual style. The stamps also feature a play on mapping conventions, at the bottom of each stamp is the familiar black and white scale bar used on the maps to show the increments and scale of the maps, here they are used to show the dates the Ordinance survey maps had been in use at the date the stamps had been published. The denominations of the stamps are also set in the same style of typography used on that particular iteration of the map. The stamps act as proof that the OS maps had become part of English culture and acted as nostalgic retrospective look at the history of the maps.
At the turn of the century a new phenomenon involving GPS tracking systems emerged, enabling people to pinpoint their exact location at any given time. This also allowed for exciting opportunities in in-car navigation systems, helping to direct drivers from home to any destination of their choice, via or avoiding any route of their choosing. ‘Indeed it seems the art of getting lost seems itself to be in danger of getting lost as more and more devices are conceived to provide easy access to geo-spatial information.’  The use of satellite imagery has also been thrust into the mainstream, as services like Google Earth provide both maps of any part of the world, an option to view satellite images instead of conventional street maps or an amalgamation of both allowing the view to see road names and points of interest overlaid against photography which shows the scenery and landscape of the general area.3G mobile phones allow any of its users high speed access to the internet and therefore access to a wealth of mapping information. With this new technology slowly becoming the new standard in mapping in the 21st century, conventional printed maps are no longer the first choice for navigating the many roads of Britain. If they eventually die out will too the idea of experimental graphic design, paper based maps? Several designers have decided to keep up with the move to new technologies by analyzing the conventions and expectations of GPS and Satellite based imagery and exploiting it for their work. ‘British Artist Jeremy Wood, uses off the shelf hardware and custom software created by collaborators to turn GPS technology into a satellite powered Etch-a-Sketch’  he uses the data collected from a portable GPS receiver to track his movements. Wood would use the receiver to plot journeys such as those taken on planes from Berlin to Heathrow. ‘Berlin to London’ 2000 shows just this. (figure 16.1 and detail in figure 16.2) The result being a line depicting his latitude, longitude and altitude as it circles the runway, takes off, flies at heights of 32,000ft and then lands at the other airport. ‘They were just these extraordinary large and beautiful objects and lines; I was tracking my movement, leaving a dot to dot line of where I had been.’ 
Woods has also experimented with using urban areas as giant canvases to project his own message. In Woods’ Vegas Dollar 2004 (figure 17) he drove around the city streets of Las Vegas, again, using his GPS receiver to track his movements. Woods then gathered this data and imposed it onto a satellite image of the city to show travelled route, which appears as a huge dollar symbol. Woods overlaid his image on the city to put the scale of the dollar in context revealing that the symbol is in fact 8 miles wide. The choice of location to produce this GPS drawing is a satirical comment on the city and it’s visitors obsession with the infamous casinos and gambling.
Woods is an example of taking a new technology and using it for a completely different use for what is was intended. In Vegas Dollar and several other pieces he combines the use of GPS with satellite photography, another threat to the printed map.
Design agency The Glue Society has also played with the perceived expectations of satellite photography in a more subversive way. In 2008 the agency took several images from Google earth and proceeded to manipulate the physical image using photo editing technology to create scenes from the bible. God’s Eye View 2008 (figure 18) is a series of 4 artworks recreating important scenes from both the Old and New Testament. Parts are taken from other images in order to recreate some of the biblical scenes. ‘Bits of Niagara Falls add drama to the Red Sea image, for instance, while the Garden of Eden is largely formed from shots of a university campus in Belgium.’ 
The images look convincingly real, like they have been taken straight from Google Earth. ‘We like to disorientate audiences a little with all our work. And with this piece we felt technology now allows events which may or may not have happened to be visualized and made to appear dramatically real. Satellite photography is so trusted, it has been interesting to mess with that trust.’ 
The Glue Society have deliberately taken the expectations of a service like Google Earth and challenged the conventions in order to subvert a medium of photography that has to this date been relatively inaccessible to the general public. Since it’s inception, Google Earth has enabled anyone with an internet connection to view high quality satellite photographs of any area on the planet. This has helped push satellite photography into the limelight. The popularity and influence of the Google brand reached an all time high in the early 21st century and was named top in a study of the world’s 100 most powerful brands conducted by Mllward Brown.  The combined _ of a such a scientific procedure as satellite imagery coupled with the expectations of such a well respected brand as Google allows for designs such as those at the Glue Society to subvert and challenge that trust, challenging people not to take everything seen in today’s communication rich environment as face value.
Technically similar in its methods is design agency _Scape’s control vs. wilderness. A series of 2 photo manipulations of the same place. The first (see figure 19) is an unedited satellite image photo of the Dutch fortress city of Naarden, geographically unique it is a city shaped like a 6 pronged star, surrounded by a moat, which is in turn surrounded by a lush area of forest and vegetation. ‘Personal computers in the office, the classroom and the home brought handling of text and image within everyone’s reach’ The idea of image manipulation is no longer a specialized technique but on in which most people have access to on a professional or amateur level. The manipulated image uses Photoshop to completely invert the balance between the urban men made areas and the rural natural ones. The city is moved to the surrounding areas and what was once the city is not an island of nothing but woods. The piece intends to convey how ‘instead of cities surrounded by landscape. The situation is nowadays is an urban field surrounding pockets of landscape, the urban jungle is where uncontrollable phenomena emerge, while the former natural wilderness has grown into a safe predictable place.’ This is another example of subverting the accepted and challenging our conventions and expectations of mapping; even with the most modern and up to date incarnations of the medium. With advances in technology made all the time in the modern world each new advancement brings forth new original means of communicating a point, and a chance to respond directly to it. This brings us to discussing and analyzing the idea of post modern mapping.
3. 4 POST MODERN MAPPING
The idea behind logical mapping is a response to our needs as people to ‘picture vast banks of data, information flows, and regions of space beyond the scale of human imagining.’
As stated earlier mapping is most traditionally the 2-Dimensional representation of a space in the traditional sense this will have been a geographical area, although in the modern day when everything physical has been mapped, designers and cartographers look to other dimensions beyond the realm of what we see. Mapping the unknown, the logical, thoughts feelings, time.
A recent challenge to cartographers and designers has been mapping the biggest logical space in existence, the internet.
‘Mapping the internet poses numerous problems. The challenge is not just that it contains a staggering amount of extremely complex, rapidly changing information, but also that it exists nowhere and yet operates simultaneously in the physical world.’ 
One attempt of mapping the vastness of the internet comes in the form of a graphic representation by network engineer Barrett Lyon.
The map (figure 20) is essential illegible, consisting of a multitude of different coloured lines extending outwards from a centre point in completely different directions, some of these lines then form new points in which more lines extend outwards. The graphic representation is so deeply complex and aesthetically detailed that it is reminiscent of photographs of galaxies taken by satellites. The map features neither labels nor any key explaining the colour co-ordination of the lines. Therefore how can it be read in anyway? A good map is supposed to communicate data in an effective enough manner for the user to be able to gain knowledge from; Lyons map is beautiful but not functional. In his defense Lyon claims that ‘mapping the internet on a weekly basis will enable us to see major disasters in different parts of the world. The internet is a huge disasters sensor. If I had maps of pre-war Iraq and then compared them to today, one could see how badly Iraq was destroyed.’ 
From Lyons justification it is clear that the map does have a function, but the exclusion of any key, makes it a deconstructed version of a conventional map, important data has been removed for the benefit of decoration, creating a map more concerned with form than function. The Thames and Hudson dictionary of Graphic Design and Designers 2003 states that…
…post modernism derived from a backlash against ‘the belief of form following function’ and that a ‘new generation of Swiss graphic designers sought to challenge the limitations of this increasingly predictable style. 
Lyons map seems more fixated with style than substance and seems to follow the post modernist stance of deconstructing the design down until its very legibility is under threat.
In an attempt to humanize the incomprehensible amount of information in Lyon’s map he has taken the form of the map and ‘resorted to a fish-eye view that moulds their data space into a globe that evokes our stock image of planet earth.’  When viewed, the ma appears as a spherical shape of lines and colours that the viewer will associate with conventional world atlas and hopefully make the connection with little explanation.
A second attempt at mapping the internet was attempted by Tokyo based design agency Information Architecture. The designers decided to communicate the vast amount of detailed information by using an existing successful design that people could relate to. In a similar fashion to how Patterson created The Great Bear information architects the map of the greater train system of Tokyo and changed the stations to popular website for their Web Trend Map 2008 (figure 21)
The positioning of the websites onto the stations positions is mainly decided by categorizing the websites by popularity and traffic.
In terms of traffic, Tokyo station is the center of Tokyo. That’s why Google (which is slowly becoming a metaphor of the Internet itself) has moved from Shinjuku to Tokyo Station. 
IA’s map does a fantastic job of marrying the modern, Beck style graphic map with the idea of logical mapping. This is also a good example of post modern mapping, taking something familiar to a large group of people, in this case the commuters of the Tokyo subway system and placing it into a new context, the use of an existing map also helps users to understand the information, commuters who know the positioning of the various stations will comprehend that the website in place of Tokyo station is obviously the most busiest in terms of traffic.
To summarize, for a map to be considered postmodern, it needs to self reference itself or other graphical maps or deconstruct the level of information it displays in order to reduce the legibility or understanding down to a level in which only an audience with a knowledge of graphic design, mapping, or the information being communicated will be able to comprehend. The subject being mapped not always need be geographic but more so logical.
With the advent of new technologies in self navigation and mapping came a new generation of artists and designers wishing to take advantage of these technologies for their own work, however there has also been a new movement in designers embracing the older technologies producing traditionally print based maps on paper but using new ideas and themes to base maps on.
Langlands & Bell, Air Routes of Britain (Day) 2002 (figure 22) and Air Routes of Britain (Night) 2002 (figure 23) is a screen printed diptych series that the British artists describe as ‘a mile-high state of permanent flux frozen in time’  The maps, incredibly minimalist in nature feature light weight lines depicting flight paths in Britain, the lines converge on circular points representing airports. Each map represents the air routes of both day and night and does this by inverting the background colour and the lines and points on the map, despite this, both maps feature exactly the same information, the lines positioning and direction do not change in the slightest. Effectively both maps are exactly the same in every way but colours, prompting the question why produce two separate maps?
Much in the same way as Lyons Map of the internet, albeit on a much less complex scale, Langlands & Bell have opted to show information by use of a multitude of lines yet no discernable key of labels for the information. The map, although creating a vague silhouette of the British Isles, is of no use to anyone who is not familiar with the distribution of major settlements and their local airports.
The only information that can be taken from this diptych is the quantitative use of dots, used to ‘show the absolute total distribution of population or the distribution of individual elements within the population’  The maps use the known convention of size representing importance or scale, in this case the bigger the size of the dot on the map the more major the airport and the more routes it serves. This is a typical example of a modern day map deconstructing the traditional conventions down into the basic forms.
Other than this the map has no particular information, it is hard to tell exactly what dot represents which airport. Instead the maps seem to be purely self indulgent, concerned with creating a beautiful piece of information based design, not necessarily to be used for the communication of information via graphic design.
After careful research and in-depth analysis it seems the modern day map has evolved through several stages. While initially a means of conveying large amounts of geographical information capable of aiding a person from one point to another they have moved on to communicating staggeringly large amounts of information, information so complex that to represent this in a traditional manner utilizing the tried and tested graphical devices would be nonsensical. The cartographers and graphic designers had to evolve the map to a new standard of asthetics, breaking free from the slavish geographically accurate affair and onto a more graphical diagrammatic appearance ushered in by Back’s 1933 map, a strictly modernist design, created to streamline the information being presented and to represent the city in a more utopian light. The innovation inspired many more maps designed and executed in a similar fashion until the diagrammatic map became an almost unofficial internationally recognized standard for design. This widespread use of the style and it’s familiarity to the public, allowed it to be subverted, challenged and spoofed in what is a blatant example of Appropriation, used in order to create works that respond directly to the originals, introduce debate and undermine their functionality. A post-modern version of the map.
Instead the map has changed, evolved and adapted in order to survive, a new generation of artists, designers and cartographers now use the map to create new works of art which reference the illustrious past of graphical mapping and challenge our preconceived expectations of the map.
After careful in-depth analysis of the evolution of several high profile works in the history of maps and a handful of modern day examples of mapping the following subjective approaches of postmodern mapping have been formulated.
- Postmodern mapping is a direct response to the traditional idea of mapping.
- The map does make use of data, though not always geographic and not always presented in a straightforward manner.
- The aim of the postmodern map is not necessarily to communicate vital information
- The postmodern map is not always geographically correct.
- The post modern map accepts and uses the rule of form over function
- The deconstruction of the traditional map down into basic forms.
- The appropriation of a design and turning it into an art context.
In summary, post modern maps use factual data to create visually complex, interesting aesthetical designs that could probably be considered closer to realms of art than design, in that some of the pieces are created or displayed in an art context and have no real end function. The works are there to prompt discussion, look retrospectively at the medium and in some cases created simply out of love or adoration of the original work.
This entire genre has been born out of the need for the traditional map to survive; it has evolved to avoid extinction. Harry Beck, designers of the iconic London Underground system map, the first to properly challenge the conventions of the modern day map has stated that his map ‘must be thought of as a living and changing thing, with schematic ‘manipulation’ and spare part osteopathy going on all the time’  this argues that though postmodern mapping is a departure from more conventionally designed maps it is a necessary step for the evolution of graphical mapping in the modern day world.