A Map of Beirut in Rubber

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Beirut is a vibrant place with a storied past… one which has left the city covered in scars that are still being repaired. Lebanese artist Marwan Rechmaoui often works with themes of urban development and social history revolving around his home country – in this case a large, floor based map of the current city layout. Titled Beirut Caoutchouc, the coastal Mediterranean city is recreated with heavy pieces of rubber embossed with roads, byways and segmented into 60 individual pieces that demarcate neighborhoods.

Forget Hiking! Google Maps Hits the Grand Canyon

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Spoiler Alert… for anyone who wants to be surprised by natural wonders like the Grand Canyon, don’t look at this! Google announced today that it has gotten into the hiking game… and they’re making it a lot easier for those who would rather go there by armchair. Today they released an extensive trail based tour the majestic Grand Canyon. Just like Google Street View, you can now cruise down over 75 miles of trails including the famous Bright Angel and Kaibab Trail. It’s a far sight easier than pulling on those old hiking boots.

Never Built: Los Angeles’s Never Realized Architecture

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Los Angeles is perhaps most famous for two things: its prolific creation of movies, and its massive urban sprawl. The city is unique for having almost no geographic center, instead being spread between districts like Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley (which are city sized in their own right). Now Los Angeles’s A+D Architecture and Design Museum is asking the question “What if?” What if the area’s many proposed architectural projects from the past had been realized? Never Built explores ideas that were never to be, looking at futuristic projects ranging from ideas for massive public institutions, to cantilevered outdoor recreation spaces and extensive rail-based public transportation. It’s an exciting look at the future that could have been… one that is daring the City of Angels to dream big again.

Below the Boat: Underwater Topo Maps Made of Wood

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There are few things more interesting to study than a good map… add some detail to it in the form of topographical data, and you could have the people here at Visual News obsessed for hours. The maps we bring you here have one added ingredient: a healthy dose of artisan beauty. Made by Bellingham, Washington based chart purveyor Below the Boat, each of their many map designs detail the underwater features of famous bodies of water by laser cutting and layering pieces of wood.

The Difference Between Holland and the Netherlands

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Next time you’re off to Holland to pick some tulips you’re going to be far, far more informed about the place… and far more correct in identifying what it is. As this excellent and quickly paced video from the epic CPG Grey points out, there is a massive misunderstanding about the tulip growing, windmill building, hagelslag eating, container ship moving, ocean conquering nation… most importantly that it’s called the Netherlands and “Holland” is actually just its two most populous provinces.

A Delightful, Hand-Drawn Map of New York City

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Following 3-months of research and hard work, British illustrator Jenni Sparks has created a fantastic hand-drawn map featuring the lovely city of New York. The piece repeats the talents we saw in her earlier effort creating a map of London, with this version perhaps even surpassing that fine work. Bold lines trace her 3D renditions of the city’s famous architecture, from the Flat Iron building to the Empire State Building; and locations like Union Square to Central Park.

Taking The Subway From New York to Chicago

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Heading home for the holidays? Maybe your folks live back in Brooklyn, or maybe they live out in the sticks. Just how far and where could you get if the NYC subway lines were laid end-to-end in one direction?

One Hot Year: Visualizing US Fires in 2012

By just about any standard, 2012 was a massive year for U.S. wildfires. According to data from both the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) and NASA, over 9.1 million acres burned this year… and that was only tracking until November 30th. That figure places 2012 as the 3rd most wildfire filled year since 1960, and with the total number of fires being 55,505 – a relatively low number – the year holds the current record for the largest average fire size.

Swedes Love Their Milk… and China is Allergic

This just in: swedes love their milk… big time. This map made a splash on Reddit recently when it was pointed out that there is some serious love for the white beverage in the northern european country, as well as its neighbor Finland, the Netherlands, Greece and Switzerland. Ranking low on this map: China.

Let’s Get Retro Happy: Illustrations by Lotta Nieminen

These illustrations from Helsinki Finland born illustrator Lotta Nieminen, have a positively refreshing happiness to them. Perhaps it’s the heavy dose of mid-century nostalgia in their retro aesthetic, or maybe it’s the often intoxicating world-travel themes which so often appear in her work. I wouldn’t be surprised if she could take the most un-appealing places and – using her highly textured minimalist style – distill them down into something desirable and charming.