Maps are a traveler’s bible. Whether you prefer your maps digital, interactive, or the old-school fold up kind, we would never recommend leaving home without one. A good map gives its user logical information–directions, topography, street names…you know, the important stuff. While these maps are essential for exploring they don’t necessarily answer all your questions.
The maps you didn’t know you needed aren’t “useful” by traditional standards, but what they lack in convention they more than make up for in good design and flat-out fun.
1. Red Bull Street Art View
In a genius collaboration with Google Street View, Red Bull has put together a heat map of street art around the globe. You can click on the interactive map, view random art, or add your own. Check out San Diego for some vintage Shepard Fairey.
2. Generic Names for Soft Drinks
In an incredibly serious scientific study, Alan McConchie attempted to answer the epic “Pop vs. Soda” conundrum. He polled some goofballs (mostly in California) and his findings became this informative map. The regional difference between calling soda “pop” (or the other way around) may be lost on non-Americans, but the quickest way to look like a foreigner is to get it wrong. Study up “Fizzy Lifting Drink” consumers.
3. 100 Years of [Movie] Set Locations
It’s not surprising that BoxOfficeQuant, a blog dedicated to statistics in film, would come up with this map. They took 2,001 films from the past 100 years and mapped their filming locations onto this handy interactive Google Map. Some of the locations will surprise you (did you know parts of the 5th Element were filmed in Republic of Mauritania?).
4. I Call Mine…
Traveling to the UK and/or in a need of some really good new euphemisms for “willy”? We thought so! Check out the new UK based site I Call Mine, a map that shows different regions of the UK and their own male-member nicknames. An ingenious advertising campaign for UK-based Lloydspharmacy, the nicknames are weird, most are incredibly naughty, and you should only click through the map if you have a high tolerance for raunchiness.
5. The United States of Shame
6. North American English Dialects, Based on Pronunciation Patterns
If you think the map’s title is a bit complicated, wait till you delve into the map itself. Rick Aschmann created this massive map of American dialects as a “hobby”. Although the subject is incredibly interesting, the sheer volume of information is tough to digest. Even if this map does make our eyes cross after a few minutes, we do love Aschmann’s passion for verbiage.
7. Global Alcohol Consumption
This map by the Economist was made with information collected from a report on alcohol consumption by the World Health Organization. You might think that with party spots like Miami or Vegas, the USA would score high. But the report found that the former Soviet States hit the bottle way more than the rest of us. Moldova comes out on top (or on bottom?) as the country with the biggest booze hounds. Moldovians drink an average of 18.2 liters of alcohol a day, while the average person drinks around 6.1. And an interesting aside, did you know that 30% of the alcohol consumed in the world is moonshine?
8. Mapping Stereotypes
When looking at the genius work of artist Yanko Tsvetkov, it’s really impossible to pick a favorite. His series of prejudice maps is one of the most beloved on the internet. Buy his t-shirts, buy his calendar, forward to your friends and guffaw at his genius.
9. The United States of GOOD Beer
There’s no reason the beer-slinging crowd shouldn’t participate in the whole “locally sourced” thing. Every US state (minus poor Idaho) has a locally brewed beer, and GOOD has a handy map to make sure you get the most out of your next tasting.
10. 2Mass Redshift Survey
What this map’s title lacks in pizzazz, it more than makes up in coolness. What else would you expect from Harvard scientists? Their team mapped the universe in 3D – including 43,000 galaxies over 380 million light-years from earth. It took them almost 10 years to complete, but it sure is a beauty.
Article by Rachel Greenberg, originally written for NileGuide