Cartography Design Annual #1

After many weeks of production, we here at Springer Cartographics couldn’t be happier to announce the release of the Cartography Design Annual #1 book. Conceived, edited, and designed by me, Nick Springer, the intention of the book is to provide an annual gallery some of the best designed maps from around the world.

We plan on doing this every year with new maps from each calendar year. The book features a wide range of creative styles, with a primary focus on the quality of the visual designs. There are a number of other annual map books, but they all focus on maps created with particular software packages.

The book is available now for purchase from, an on-demand book printer, for $39.95 plus shipping. Hopefully in a month or two it will also be available from the main online book sellers like and

The Man Who Loved China

In May, HarperCollins released the latest work by Simon Winchester titled “The Man Who Loved China” which includes 3 maps by Springer Cartographics. As Publisher’s Weekly describes it:

Joseph Needham (1900–1995) is the man who made China China, forming the West’s understanding of a sophisticated culture with his masterpiece, Science and Civilization in China, says bestselling author Winchester. In a life devoted to recording the Middle Kingdom’s intellectual wealth, Needham, an eccentric, brilliant Cambridge don, made a remarkable journey from son of a London doctor through scientist-adventurer to red scare target. In Winchester’s (The Professor and the Madman) estimable hands, Needham’s story comes to life straightaway. From the biochemist’s arrival in WWII Chongqing (the smells, of incense smoke, car exhaust, hot cooking oil, a particularly acrid kind of pepper, human waste, oleander, and jasmine) to his steely discipline when crafting his research into prose (to an old friend: I am frightfully busy. You come without an appointment, so I am afraid I cannot see you), Winchester plunges the reader into the action with hardly a break. As the author notes in an outstanding epilogue—a swirling 12-page trip through the kaleidoscope of contemporary China—he is at pains to place Needham front and center in our understanding of the nation that now plays such a huge role in American life.

This is the second book we have illustrated for Mr. Winchester.

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University of Dayton Campus Map

The University of Dayton, in Dayton, Ohio has just gone live with their new campus map which we designed and produced.  The project consisted of both a print map to hand-out to prospective students and a Flash-based interactive map (click on “Campus Map”) for the web site.  We collaborated with Mapformation to create the building illustrations.  Jim Blakeslee of Geocentric programmed the interactive map which went beyond your typical pan-and-zooming.  We wanted to create a system by which the folks at the University of Dayton could update the building images and descriptions in an external file without having to rely on us to recreate the Flash.  Jim did a tremendous job of pulling this together.

Toni Mair – Swiss Terrain Artist

Nat Kelso, the staff cartographer for The Washington Post and an acquaintance of mine, has published a fascinating look at the work of Toni Mair, a Swiss artist that creates 3-dimensional models of landscapes. Nat, and a few other cartographers, got a rare glimpse of the process Toni uses to create these amazing works of precision and beauty.

HarperCollins Publishers

Over the past 5 years, we have designed maps for 17 book published by HarperCollins, starting with “Quicksilver” by Neal Stephenson. While most of these have been non-fiction titles, there have been some works of fiction as well. Many of the book have been on the New York Times bestsellers lists, and one (“The News from Paraguay,” by Lily Tuck) even won a National Book Award. We are very proud of our association with HarperCollins and hope it continues.

Read on to see is a list of all the books that contain our maps.

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San Juan Islands Map Series

San Juan Island, WashingtonBack in 2005 we started working on a map of San Juan Island, part of a group of islands with the same name in the Straits of Juan de Fuca in Washington State. The islands are a popular vacation destination near Seattle, with nature as the primary draw. Orcas and other whales are plentiful in the islands as well as numerous birds. The islands are also popular with artists and nearby are the tulip fields of the Skagit River Delta.

The local Windermere Real Estate office in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island asked us to create a map they could share with visitors, with the requirement that it showed and labeled EVERY road on the island for the purposes of real estate as well. We created that map and it quickly became the most popular map of the island, going through several printings. That success in turn led to us creating maps for 2 more of the islands in the group, Orcas Island and Lopez Island, both maps becoming just as popular.

Colorado Snow Load Map

Colorado Snow Load MapWe recently completed a project for the Structural Engineers Association of Colorado (SEAC) to create a map of the average snow load across the state of Colorado. They provided an Excel spreadsheet of 400 sample locations each with the latitude and longitude and average snow load (pounds per square foot). We plotted this data and then interpolated the points into a surface from which we could create contour lines. The map was printed at 24″ x 36″ and we were very pleased with the results.

If you would like more information about obtaining a copy of the map, please contact SEAC directly.


I have decided to jump on the Web 2.0 band wagon and add a blog to my site. I will be posting information about new projects, published works, and interesting articles. You can also find lots more general content about cartographers and cartography at and, two community sites that I have created. I am proud to say that CartoTalk is the biggest community site for cartographers worldwide. I it’s 4 years of existence it has become a tremendous resource for professional and beginner cartographers alike.