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Vintage Infodesign [88]

Data visualization showcase, with old maps, diagrams, charts and graphics

September 22, 2014

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Back in April 2010, the British Library unveiled some of its most precious and rare maps in an exhibit called Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda And Art. The British Library houses approximately 4 and a half million different maps, making it one of the biggest map collections in the world. Showcasing 80 of the most impressive wall maps ever seen – some dating back as far as 200AD -, this exhibition closed in September 2010.

Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda And Art provided a showcase for a rare display from the British Library’s map collection. Challenged by the Library to allow visitors to explore some maps in more detail and find out more about them, the team at Brighton-based agency cogapp conceived a set of multi-user interactives with no apparent interface. Users picked up a device, shaped like a magnifying glass, that ‘magically’ enlarged the projected display underneath it. Moving the glass over projected hotspots provided access to further information. You can read more about the project here.

The first picks for today’s Vintage InfoDesign are some of the cartographic gems highlighted by The Guardian at that time, in one of the many articles about the exhibit:

Plan of the Parish of Smallburgh (1582) | John Darby

(image: John Darby)


A Chart of the Mediterranean Sea (1570) | Diogo Homem

(image: Diogo Homem)


World Map (c1450) | Fra Mauro

(image: Fra Mauro)


Transcontinental routes of Pacific Greyhound Lines (1935) | Greyhound Lines

(image: Greyhound Lines)


Balance of Payments (1950) | Fortune Magazine

Fortune Magazine


RMS Aquitania (c1920)

RMS Aquitania (c1920)


Industrial and Holiday Centers (1947) | ISOTYPE Institute

(image: ISOTYPE Institute)


Properties of Bodies (1850) | John Philipps Emslie

(image: John Philipps Emslie)


Chart Of Geographical Illustrations (1915) | F. Rutley

(image: F. Rutley)


The Game of France (1659) | Pierre Duval

(image: Pierre Duval)


Route of Mormon pioneers (1899) | Millroy & Hayes

(image: Millroy & Hayes)


How a big restaurant operates (1948) | Frank Soltesz

(image: Frank Soltesz)


Map of Los Angeles Historical and Recreational (1942) | Jo Mora

(image: Jo Mora)



That’s it for today’s round up! We’ll be back next week with another selection, but until then, enjoy our Pinterest board, just with old maps and infographics.

Written by Tiago Veloso

Tiago Veloso is the founder and editor of Visualoop and Visualoop Brasil . He is Portuguese, currently based in Bonito, Brazil.