Published: Jan. 13, 2023

The World of Printed Maps is a regular feature that showcases the physical maps collection in the Earth Sciences & Map Library

Here are four things to know about pictorial maps:

1. Pictorial maps are a genre in which the cartography is embellished with drawings and illustrations.

These maps reveal the character of a place more than its actual geography.

The World Makes an Automobile map, 1953 - zoom into subcontinent of India

This 1950’s map “The World Makes an Automobile,” tells the story of the global resources involved in car manufacturing through cartography, illustrations and text. Did you know that materials such as sugar cane, soybeans and cotton were used to make cars?

2. Pictorial maps are a slice of history.

The advent of inexpensive color printing in the mid 20th century resulted in a boom of pictorial maps as advertising and promotion for companies, governments and other organizations.

Hershey Chocolate Map 1953

In this 1953 chocolate map, Hershey provides an education about where chocolate comes from and invites the reader to spend time engaging with its product - chocolate.

3. Pictorial maps can be funny!

The Good Natured Map of Alaska, 1943

In the 1943 “Good Natured Map of Alaska,” tourism is promoted with a map of the positive attributes of the 49th state. This map features hand-drawn cartoon art of the amusing experiences you will have on a cruise to Alaska.

4. Pictorial maps can depict imaginary lands.

Reflective of allegorical maps of the Romantic era, the1960’s illustrated “Geographical Guides” to the hearts of women and men used stereotypes and humor to envision the metaphorical heart as two separate gendered lands.

Geography of gendered hearts,1960s era

Pictorial maps are only one example of how there is more to maps than the distance between locations.