Map of ‘Pangaea’ with Current International Borders
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Please come in. You're invited to make yourself at home! Join us beneath the doodle...
I love maps. Always have. Any and all maps, from globes to road atlases--I don't discriminate. When I share this interest with others, people usually either think I'm weird or just don't care, so it's a passion I normally keep to myself and pursue alone.
Ever since I was a small child, I collected any maps I could get my hands on. While other children were begging for toys (although, to be fair, I begged for my share of toys as well), I was begging for the latest edition of the Rand McNally U.S. road atlas. I had a drawer full of atlases, topographical maps, and maps of specific metropolitan areas, not to mention my prized topographical globe. I even had road atlas software that I spent hours and hours on, studying not only local roads, but also the interstate highway system and the roads and streets of states and cities I've never even been to before. By the time I was in my teens, I knew how to get around my county (and, indeed, the country) better than my parents did. I still remember one time in the family car when (this won't mean anything to anybody here) I corrected my dad that we weren't on PA Route 27 because 27 had turned left and the highway had turned into Enterprise Road. My dad turned to my mom and said, "Now, what kind of kid knows that?" Eccentric? Maybe, but I was a damn good navigator, and my parents often benefited from the GPS that was my brain.
My love for maps didn't stop there. I also made something of a time-consuming hobby out of drawing imaginary maps. I had literally notebooks full of completely fictional maps, from the macro level (an imaginary county and its major cities and roads all on one page) to the micro level (pages and pages full of extremely detailed city maps, complete with suburbs, waterways, freeway systems, street names, and important buildings and residential, commercial, and industrial districts labeled). Yes, this was serious stuff to me. I often did it in private because, as you can imagine, such a hobby was prone to ridicule. All of my fictional maps have since been lost, much to my disappointment today, because I would love to show just how intricate and detailed I was in my map-drawing.
My love for all things map continues. Even today, when I find myself with some extra time to kill, I'll head over to Google Maps. Between Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google Street View (seriously, what fun I would have had with that as a kid), there is more than enough to keep me occupied for hours. People might think such a passion is silly, but they never seem to complain when they need somebody who can navigate the roads. My love for maps really has come in quite handy. While others are dicking around with their GPS on their iPhone, I just get in my car and drive most of the time. When I drove from Pennsylvania to Houston, all I had to do was quickly check Google Maps to confirm some details of my route, and I was good to go. And I can learn new cities very quickly. Today, I know Houston better than some locals I know do. Don't tell him I told you, but after many visits to DFW, I am also getting to the point where I know some roads better than my BF does. The only two cities that have given me serious navigation problems have been Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., both for obvious reasons--the GPS is well-used when I visit these cities.
Like I said, I enjoy maps of all kinds, not just road maps. Recently, I subscribed to r/MapPorn, a Reddit "subreddit" filled to the brim with all kinds of interesting maps, many of them communicating some kind of information other than geography. Needless to say, somebody with interests matching mine could spend their entire day just on that subreddit. It was actually on Reddit that I recently found a link to this article, which shows "40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World." Since I'm sure nobody here is interested in my favorite road maps, I thought I'd share a few of them here. One of them, the map of "Pangaea," is above, but that's only the tip of the map porn iceberg. Get ready...
The Only 22 Countries in the World Britain Has Not Invaded (not shown: Sao Tome and Principe)
The Most Common Surnames in Europe by Country
Worldwide Driving Orientation by Country
Visualizing Global Population Density
Map of Alcoholic Drink Popularity by Country
Map of Where 29,000 Rubber Duckies Made Landfall After Falling off a Cargo Ship in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean
Map of Contiguous United States Overlaid on the Moon
Reversed Map with Southern Hemisphere at Top of Map (because position of North is arbitrary)Be sure to hit the link to check out the rest.
If your appetite has been whetted, here are a couple of bonus maps from r/MapPorn.