8 Beautifully Designed Maps

With so many websites using Google Maps to create mashups, a lot of online maps are starting to look the same. But there are a few who are addressing both form and function to create maps that are both eye-catching and useful.

Get London Reading has mapped more than 400 books about or set in the city, using book covers as markers. The surrounding image, a pair of hands holding a book, heightens the creative design of the map.

Also illustrating the beauty of London is this map of the London Tube system. It is remarkable in that is so much more visually interesting than the flat map Londoners are used to seeing. The 3D rendering includes landmarks like the London Eye, Big Ben and London Bridge.

It’s no secret that Capitol of Punk is more than your average map. The Museum of Modern Art recently included it in its Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition along with 13 other map mashups.

The zip codes of the United States never looked better than they do at zipdecode. The interactive map lets users type any zip code and as each one of the five digit numbers number is entered, the star-like dots fade away to reveal the intended area.

Wilshire Boulevard, like Sunset Boulevard and many other streets in Los Angeles, is a long stretch of road whose character changes many times within a short drive. Curating the City captures the essence of the avenue in its illustrated and interactive map.

MappedUp has been referenced here before as an innovative way of visualizing the news, but its bold color scheme and clever animations make its design worth reemphasizing.

Stamen Design, whose Trulia Hindsight and Oakland Crimespotting maps have been featured this week, is clearly on to some something with their unique design approach to maps.

And to close out this week of maps, the following video is one of my favorite maps since I was young and my gift to all the 10,000 Words readers around the world:

Also on 10,000 Words

5 Ways to create a Google Map in minutes
10 Mind-blowing maps (and 3 ways to create them)
How to create a Google Map in about 30 minutes