A Brief History Of Illustrated Maps
There is no shortage of talent that creates beautiful illustrated...

There is no shortage of talent that creates beautiful illustrated maps. While the maps are drawn by hand, they are 100% digital. What does this mean? Interactive WebMap Service incorporates technology to the hand-drawn illustrative maps so that they can be modified, altered or updated for future use.

Illustrated maps were very popular during the 1860’s until aerial photography was introduced to the world in 1920. Printing technology was also developed and created a market for portraits. The post-Civil War era was associated to economic growth and prosperity so that portraits of cities and town as they looked from above were very much in demand.

The first step in creating bird’s eye view map is to visit the city or village, walk around the streets and sketch the buildings. The sketches are assembled into a drawing of the city as it appears from the eyes of a bird. The illustrated maps were not generally drawn according to strict scale but they show street patterns, individual buildings and major features of the landscape.

Local residents wanted their cities to be presented as wealthy and thriving. To satisfy the clients, artists would draw smoke coming out of factory chimneys, ships sailing in the rivers and railroad engines hauling goods.

Clients expect accurate illustrated maps. The names of streets must be correct and buildings must be meticulously presented. Details were very crucial from the number of windows and doors to their placements in individual homes. In order to show the entire view of a city, the artist has to apply certain distortion of perspective. In most instances, smaller pictures of buildings were drawn with references printed at the bottom.

Once the illustrated map has been completed, it is printed and sold to local residents who are too happy to have their individual homes depicted. Meanwhile, companies used the bird’s eye view map to promote their business.

Today, illustrated maps are 100% digital although the artist still draws the view, buildings and landmarks by hand. Interactive WebMap Service uses several satellite imagery resources as well as mapping resources to create a fully illustrated 2D or 3D map the client will be proud to own.

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