You can call them pictorial maps, overview maps, bird’s eye view maps or map lustration but they are all illustrated maps that depict a certain area with more artistry and creativity than accurate scale. Anything can be featured on the illustrated maps from famous landmarks and buildings to legendary figures, historical events and campuses.
New York City is one of the favorite subjects of map illustrators. The city has a recognizable grid, intensely diverse population and a frequently changing skyline that provides inspiration to many illustrators. The culture of the city has never been more evident than in overview maps that were created centuries ago.
One of the earliest illustrated maps of New York City shows New Amsterdam when the British took over the city and renamed it as New York in 1664. The illustrated map includes the tip of Manhattan Islands that is covered in gardens and surrounded by buildings. On the background were British man-of-war ships occupying the waterways.
The rare map of New Amsterdam is one of the pictorial maps that have been selected from the massive cartography collection of New York’s Public Library. About half a million maps can be found in the library which is considered as the largest in the world and home of the best New York City maps. Katherine Harmon, guest curator and author of “You Are Here: NYC” selected some of the best illustrated maps of the city that were made during the last 4 centuries.
Many people are intrigued of pictorial maps because they do not adhere to the rules of cartography and geography. The fact is the maps are intended for entertainment purposes to those who are interested in the social and cultural history of a place. Illustrated maps usually reveal the view of a certain place at a particular point of its history.
The map illustrator has more freedom to express how he sees a city in the overview maps which are more popularly known as illustrated maps. Map illustrators are artistically inclined to show a view of a city from above. This is usually the reason why the map is also referred to as a bird’s eye view map.