Evolution of China's subway system by Peter Dovak.
So technically this was from 2017 but I didn't see it until 2018 so I'm giving it a bump here. I love the mini-subway maps on their own but the animation works well too.
While the East coast is freezing, the West will be warmer than usual by The Washington Post Laris Karklis, Lauren Tierney and John Muyskens
In a world where the scientific community invariably defaults to rainbow colour schemes for any map that shows climate or weather, this is a soothing sight for the eyes. Proving that maps do not need to be overly complex, this is a cracking map by the talented Washington Post graphics team.
Island of Iturup by Heather Smith
Mixing digital techniques with some old school hand drawn terrain gives this map a wonderful aesthetic, not to mention that white on black is both stunning and difficult to do well.
Typewriter Cartography by Daniel Huffman
Many people are shying away from digital and experimenting with more human mechanisms for map creation. Here, Daniel gets out his father's old typewriter and does some experimenting. I just like it. There's a few different examples on his blog, linked above.
España by Mike Hall
This is just a beautiful map. mike's taken design cues from a number of historic styles and blended them into this composition to perfection. I could write paragraphs about the colour, typography, cityscapes, cartouche etc. but, the whole piece is cartographic elegance personified.
Equal Earth Projection by Bojan Šavrič, Tom Patterson and Bernhard Jenny
It's not every day that a new map projection gets people excited but this year we had such a day. A new projection showing the land masses at true sizes relative to one another. An antidote to that bloody Mercator thing, and far more useful as a wall map.
The D-Day Story logo
Combining the map of the south coast of England and the north west coast of France, broken by the English Channel, with the letter D makes this a fantastic, if not poignant, expression of the focus of this museum.
The Times Comprehensive Atlas (15th edition) by HarperCollins
You don't need a new atlas but you can certainly want one and this would be it. The 'greatest book on earth' gets a facelift as well as the many content updates. Beautiful cover, but I always like the giant bookmark because it doubles as a legend for all the maps, and there are 320 pages of them. Cartographic consistency and coverage at its finest. Authoritative? Of course.
Tracking Harvey’s Destructive Path Through Texas and Louisiana by The New York Times (Gregor Aisch et al.)
A feast of animated and static maps tell the story of this destructive hurricane. i particularly liked the lead map that showed the rainfall intensity by hour as proportional circles, with cumulative rainfall denoted by colour. Again, no rainbows! And as you hover over the map you get a graph of the rainfall across the week for wherever you hover (go to the animated version using the link above). Superb.
Immigrants and natural-borns in the U.S. 1790-2016 by Pedro Cruz
Wonderfully creative metaphor - the use of tree rings (each ring being 10 years) to show the pattern of immigration from different parts of the world compared to natural-born. And I am a sucker for a Dorling cartogram.
Earth at Night by Jacob Wasilkowski
Normally, I'm not a fan of spiky digital globes but this tends to the artistic rather than analytic so it works. Height of the globe's surface modified by luminance from nighttime light.
Victoria Peak (Hong Kong) carved into duct tape by Takahiro Iwasaki
This is insane. It's a miniature sculpture cut into the tape. Who needs 3D printers!
Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father (map by Gabriel Dance et al.)
'A tiny, little, beautiful company' is a great piece of cinematic cartography embedded in this article on Trump's proclamations about his finances. Uses a monochrome grey palette for the map, punctuated by splashes of colour for notable buildings and assets, all accompanied by a soundtrack of Trump statements by the man himself and a cumulative total of his alleged worth.
Shetland in a box by Alan McConchie
The year was marked by a right kerfuffle over the nonsense proclamation that The Shetland Isles should no longer be placed in an inset box. This provoked much humour and cartographic satire. Alan nailed it with this xkcd inspired solution.
West World by Andrew Degraff and AD Drew Dzwonkowski
A terrific cartoon styled map commenting on the shift in balance in the NBA as LeBron James moves to the LA Lakers. Perfect for the kids edition of Sports Illustrated but adults can appreciate the cartographic worth too.
Streetscapes by Zeit Online
Anyone and everyone interested in thematic mapping should bookmark Zeit Online. they consistently set the bar for great cartography of a diverse and rich spread of data. Here, an analysis of German street names reveals the legacy of times past and the impact of composers to dictators. Great example of marrying maps with scrollytelling too and proof that the hex-bin is alive and well.
U.S. house Election Results 2018 by New York Times
A hat-trick of favourite maps for NYT this year. Also, a great twist on the cartogram with white space used very effectively to create a non-contiguous version of the map of House Seats. There's also a geographic version if you prefer, a good trend to offer both which many news organisations are going with. And, of course, if you hover over each square you get the results (go to the link above). High quality interactive cartography.
All Over the Map by Betsy Mason and Greg Miller
Not a map, but a book of maps and terrific stories. Definitely in my top one of these coffee-table style books of maps.
And if I may beg your indulgence, I don't normally include my own work in my end of year favourite's list but I'm kind of proud of a few projects from this year so I'm just going to put them here for your enjoyment...or you can stop reading now. You've had fair warning.
Together with my colleagues Edie Punt, John Nelson, Wes Jones, Nathan Shephard and an army of people behind the scenes it's been amazing to deliver a Massive Open Online Course to over 80,000 people this year. Who would have thought there were that many people interested in learning about making maps! And here's a map of a good portion of those students, who come from all over the globe. I think it's the best map of a large online class of cartographers this year.
I made a map, from wood, and used as a cheese board. Accompanied a Geomob event in London in September and is the cover map for the 2019 GeoHipster calendar. I think it's the best map of cheese this year.
Based on a design by Dirk I built my very own Lego globe. Because...Lego AND maps. I think it's the best Lego globe this year.
Dot map of the 2016 Presidential Election
A technical challenge but a 1 dot to 1 vote election map that became my 15 minutes of viral fame in 2018.