Balloon maps

Posted to Maps  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

There was a time when the best way to get a view from above was to hop into a hot air balloon, which eventually led to the so-called “balloon map.” Cara Giaimo for Atlas Obscura starts the story with a ballooner named Thomas Baldwin.

In an age of transatlantic flights and Google Earth, Baldwin’s suggestions seem a bit quaint. But in his time, when almost everyone was stuck on the ground, Baldwin’s attempts to pin down an accurate sky-view were heroic. Over the following century, entrepreneurs, military spies, and tourist boards alike would follow his lead, transforming some of the world’s most vital views into lovely, quirky “balloon maps.”

Hand-drawn, detailed maps and graphics like this — before computers — always blows my mind.

Favorites

19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won’t Believe Your Eyes. Watch.

Many lists of maps promise to change the way you see the world, but this one actually does.

Watching the growth of Walmart – now with 100% more Sam’s Club

The ever so popular Walmart growth map gets an update, and yes, it still looks like a wildfire. Sam’s Club follows soon after, although not nearly as vigorously.

Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

The individual data points of life are much less predictable than the average. Here’s a simulation that shows you how much time is left on the clock.

Interactive: When Do Americans Leave For Work?

We don’t all start our work days at the same time, despite what morning rush hour might have you think.