Marie Tharp and her ocean floor maps were an important part of my budding interest in maps and cartography. This article underscores the power of images to educate, which is why I got into this field.
I’ve created maps and graphs for a lengthy and lavishly illustrated book about the North Shore of Lake Superior to be published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2015.
The most complex of these maps, depicting vegetation of northeastern Minnesota appears above. Michael Schmeling of Aridocean.com created the relief base and registered raw vegetation from GIS data to it before I restyled the piece to coordinate with the overall book design.
Vegetation information was originally to appear as part of the section opener maps but these became so complex that the beauty and spatial distribution of the vegetation was lost. We decided to make this a stand-alone graphic.
Those familiar with the geography of northeastern Minnesota can clearly see where hardwoods crown the bedrock ridge running along the lake (the fiery maple-red color was an intentional choice), the turquoise line representing white and red pine along the Iron Range north of Virginia, and the flat boggy area drained by the St. Louis River between Hibbing and Cloquet, represented here by purple and yellow tints.
I also managed the talent of natural history artist Vera Ming Wong, whose watercolors—both accurate and beautiful—will appear in the book.
Here’s a link to the Press’s website.