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#1
Steve

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Hello all!

-My name is Steve, I'm new to this forum.
But I wanted to get some input from you on what is the World's largest map?

I graduated with a BA in Geography, emphasizing in cartography, so I have a good idea about the difficulties in defining what is truly a map and what isn't. So there will likely not be a cut and dry answer to this question.

The large maps I'm aware of are:
The Map of Route 66 in Meteor City, NM (100'x8')
De Langste Kaart in Rotterdam, Netherlands (544'x5')
Eartha, the Globe at Delorme HQ (41' diameter)
The Challenger Map of British Columbia (85'x78')
and the US Navy Memorial in Washington, DC (100' diameter)

Also, I've heard rumors of a Map in Beijing made out of soil, that was supposedly to hold the Guinness record, but Ive never heard of any dimentions.
Someone also told me of a very large map on a wall in an Airport somewhere.

Also, a few things that challenge the definition of "Map":
The Garden of Australian Dreams in Canberra, Australia (1.4 acres)
Taman Mini (or little Indonesia) in Jakarta (3000' x 1000')
and "The World" currently under construction in Dubai, UAE (9mi x 6mi)

Do you guys have anything to input into this list? Any other large maps you've seen?

I'd love any input you could give.

Thanks.

-Steve

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Hi Steve, welcome to the forum.

The 'Langste kaart' (longest map) in Rotterdam was at that time reported in the papers as being the largest map in the world.

I checked the Guinness book of world records online, but they don't have a largest map category unfortunately.
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#3
Steve

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Thanks Hans,

De Langste Kaart I figure comes out to about 2,500 sq ft. The US Navy Memorial Plaza Map has a 100 ft diameter for an area of 7,854 sq ft. So I'd give the nod to the Navy Memorial over the Dutch Cadastral Map.

But I think De Langste Kaart is definitely the largest printed map in the world.

It is likely also the longest map in the world.

That is if you exclude the 40-mile-long model of the solar system in Illinois (which I would define only as a model and not a map, though others would disagree.)

The Challenger Map might be the only map challenger to this title.

I've never seen it, but it is reportedly a map of British Columbia approximately 85 feet by 78 feet. However, my understanding is that the map extent is only that of British Columbia (which of course is not a rectangle.) So doing the simple math of 85 x 78 = 6,630 I dont believe is correct. Its probably less, in the 5,000 sq ft range.

Are you familiar with the larger three "maps" I mentioned earlier?
That is, "The World" in Dubai, Taman Mini, and the Garden of Australian Dreams.

What would you think of their status as "maps?"

If you were Guinness, would you consider those to be "maps?"

-Steve

#4
ELeFevre

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Steve,
Welcome to the forums! It's always great to hear from new members. I'm going to see what I can find out about the three potential maps you mentioned. It's definitley an interesting topic. Some scientists think the Great Pyramids of Giza are a representation of Orions belt. It is also common belief that the position of the pyramids of Giza correlates to the meridian axis of the Nile like the stars of Orion's belt correlate to the meridian axis of the Milky Way. Could this be considered a large map? I think it's a long shot...Erin



#5
Hans van der Maarel

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Steve,

I think it really boils down to the question 'what is a map', which is a difficult one to answer. I'm not familiar with your other examples I'm afraid, so I can't really comment on those.

Here's an example: on one of my visits to San Francisco, my friends took me up to the Hyatt hotel. In front of it is a fountain with a mural (done in green stone) depicting most of SF's landmarks. Since it is 'sort of' geographically correct, one could say it's a map.

One could even argue the earth is a 1:1 scale map of itself.

Erin,

Not only are the Giza pyramids supposed to represent Orion's belt, but supposedly other pyramids scattered throughout Egypt are part of the same system, depicting the entire Orion system. Evidence for this is dodgy at the very least. In a similar fashion, the temples of Angkor Vat in Cambodia, together with surrounding temple complexes are supposed to represent the constellation of Draco.

I wonder... if the pyramids really represent Orion, what have they got to represent Sirius, which is right next to it, the brightest star in the skies and much more important for the Egyptians...
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#6
Steve

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Hans,

That's exactly what I'm looking for. Examples like the Hyatt Regency one you gave. Anything I can look into as even possibly being a challenger to being one of the "worlds largest maps." I'll have to see if I can find a picture of it or some information somewhere.

My definition of a map that I am using here:

A map:
A) Is a graphic representation of physical space.
B) Has a scale that is less than 1:1, and consistent with the cartesian plane.
C) Attempts to convey to the observer information about the physical space shown.
D) Is represented in two, three or four dimetions.

"The World" is a collection of 300 islands off the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emerates. The 300 islands are organized in a pattern that resembles the world. Each Island is between 5 and 20 acres, and contains upscale residential property accessible only be ferry from the mainland. Each island is named by where it is located on the "map", like "France" or "Texas" or "Buenos Aires." In total the complex is 9 miles in width.
I feel this violates point "C" above in that these residential islands are not attempting to conver information about the world. By looking at this group of islands from a hot air balloon above, no one could "learn" anything about the world they didn't know before.

Taman Mini a theme park in Jakarta, Indonesia. In it, there is a kilometer long pool with huge islands representing the islands of Indonesia. There are tour boats that sail between them, and give information about each island. From what I can tell from photos, the "islands" are planted with plants that are native to the real island it represents.
I feel this comes very close to violating point "C." Although the tour guides are giving a lot of information about Indonesia, the "map" itself is not. I have to learn more about what is on the islands to be sure.

The Garden of Australian Dreams is a large plaza in the National Museum of Australia. It is a very symbolic collection of items representing Australia. All set on a map that itself is very symbolic more than geographically acurate.
I feel this one violates point "B." There appear to be many map elements throughout this artistic piece, but I'd say not enough of it has a consistent scale.

The Pyramid example would also violate "C" because the Pyramids are not attempting to give information about Orion (that you couldn't get much more easily by just looking at Orion.)

However, the Hyatt Hotel example works. It does fit all 4 criteria.

I'll keep looking for examples like this one. Thanks for your help!

-Steve

#7
Steve

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A few more I've found:

A Map of Capitol Mall on the floor of the main hallway in the Washington DC Armory: 60 x 40 = 2,400 sq ft.
A Map on the floor of the Atwater Kent Museum in Philadelphia: 40 x 40 = 1,600 sq ft.

I also found a map in the hallway of the Chicago Blues Exchange in the Chicago Tourism Center that is supposed to be very large, but I cant find dimentions.

I cant beleive I forgot about the Atwater Kent Map, because beleive it or not, I actually helped make it!! Well, sort of. It was made by Rand McNally, my former employer, using maps from the Philadelphia Street Guide (which I helped create.)
Though I had nothing to do with putting the map on the floor of the museum.

Still looking....

-Steve

#8
Nick Springer

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I created a map for the new Vulcan Park in Birmingham, Alabama which is still under construction. The 36'x36' square map of Greater Birmingham will be costructed of concrete and serve as the main plaza for the visitors center.

While you have already mentioned some other lager maps this is still pretty big.

Nick Springer

Director of Design and Web Applications: ALK Technologies Inc.
Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#9
Hans van der Maarel

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Steve,

The Hyatt map is definately not the largest and I'm not 100% sure on the geographical accuracy. I'll see if I can track down the photos I took of it (bear with me, it was before I started shooting digital).
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#10
Steve

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Nice Nick,

Those are the types of maps I'm looking for. 36x36 is pretty big. Bigger than the 100x8 Map of Route 66 I had mentioned, so I'll definitely add it to my list. Do you have any links or photos?

I had painted a map mural on the campus of UCSB. It's a mere 19x10, but I like it.

Its a world population map. I painted figures of people so that 1 person represents 10 million people. Check it out:Mural Cartography

By the way, it was an accident that I posted this thread on the "Interesting Links" page, but now, I've actually posted a link, and I hope you find it interesting.

-Steve

#11
Nick Springer

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No photos yet since it is still under construction and I can't share the production drawings until the site is open. There used to be a sketch on their web site but when I just checked, it looks like they are redesigning the web site and all the pages are gone.

http://www.vulcanpark.org/

Nick Springer

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Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#12
ELeFevre

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Steve,
Great job on the world population map. Very impressive. I can't wait to see more of your work. You should add a few more pictures of the mural to your webpage.

Nick,
Since I am only a few hours from Birmingham, I will definitely drive down to check out your design when it's finished. I would love to have one my designs cemented in a public park...that's gotta feel great! Erin



#13
Nick Springer

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Cool! Take some pictures for me. I probably won't get down there.

Nick Springer

Director of Design and Web Applications: ALK Technologies Inc.
Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#14
Steve

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Thanks Erin,

I live about 150 miles away from the mural now, so I dont get over there often. Plus, I dont even have access to the .html file anymore!
I made that site when I was a student at UCSB. But if I ever stop by there again, I'll take more photos and post them here.

As for having other similar pieces for you to see, I unfortunately dont have any.

Working 50/hrs a week, and two young daughters has sapped me of all my time and money, so the cartographic masterpieces are getting backed up in my head. I've got many good ideas but no means in which to express them.

I'm sure its the sad story of most cartographers.

Although Nick, I visited your homepage, it looks like you have some great avenues to express your talents and creativity! I'm jealous.

I currently work at the Riverside County Tax Assessor's office in their Mapping Department. It doesn't quite allow for great explosions of artistic expression.

A few more big maps I've found today:

A Map of the United States in "Nostalgiaville, TN" with state outlines lined in brick, and native rocks displayed in each state. 150 x 80 = 12,000 sq ft.

A Map of Southern Europe constructed by the First US Army Warfighters Division in Fort Gillem, GA for the purposes of military training. 120 x 50 = 6,000 sq ft.

#15
Nick Springer

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Thanks, Steve. Most of that work was done on a freelance basis while working a non-cartography day job (except for my 4 years at Microsoft).

Nick Springer

Director of Design and Web Applications: ALK Technologies Inc.
Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC





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