Attracting Tourist Dollars Through Bird’s Eye View Maps

In today’s fast-paced modern world, bird’s eye view maps or sometimes called map illustrations have become a rare commodity. The maps are created by map illustrators using a wide range of artistic styles and full color illustrations to supplement text. In fact, the US National Park Service (NPS) is using large scale bird’s eye view maps to highlight park sites and other man-made features.

Map illustrations are often used by NPS in its presentation to depict historical events and settings so that visitors will gain an intimate view of the place that cannot be provided by graphics. NPS has collaborated with contract illustrators in the development of 3D designs and methods. In the hands of a 3D artist, the bird’s eye view maps become more visually appealing compared to those that have been created the traditional way.

The creation of bird’s eye view maps is difficult because the map illustrators have to consider the margins of mainstream cartography. However, most of the map illustrators who create bird’s eye view maps are usually self-taught. They know the right technique so that viewers can easily identify all the features that are included in the map.

The late 19th and early 20th century was considered as the golden era of bird’s eye view maps in the US. Because of industrialization, towns and cities had grown and prospered. It became customary to advertise the new economic vitality in the form of oblique panoramic maps. Itinerant map makers travelled from state to state to generate maps.

Map makers did not go up in hot air balloons or strap miniature cameras to pigeons and kites. They stayed on the ground and walked through the streets to sketch the facades of buildings that they have chosen to feature in the maps. When they draft the final panorama, they use their sketches and details that they have collected on the field.

Today, bird’s eye view maps are regaining their popularity due to tourism. You can access online if you need a map illustration of a ski resort or summer tourist destination. The map can range in appearance from the cartoonish to the extremely refined to attract tourist dollars.

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