Reddit’s Papertowns puts cartography firmly on the map

Weblog: These historic cityscapes will spark hours of fun and exploration for map nerds

Big cittie: Digital reconstruction of Dublin circa 1500

Big cittie: Digital reconstruction of Dublin circa 1500

 

When we move away from behemoth social networking platforms, one of the best things about the internet is the fact that it caters to niche interests – and Reddit does this better than most. For example, I didn’t know I was a fan of pictorial maps and panoramic cityscapes until I stumbled across r/papertowns, an 80,000-strong community of cartography nerds.

Most of the maps posted here are historical. You’re likely to see an aerial view of Venice circa 1500 or a map of the Mississippi coastline dating from 1700 when it was part of French Louisiana. It brings me back to when, as a 10-year-old, I spent hours poring over atlases and history books (just me?) to get a sense of exotic places I hoped to visit and times I wished I could have lived in.

There’s also quite a collection of historical maps from around Ireland. There’s a lovely one of the “cittie of Limerick” from 1587, which has drawn comparisons to Game of Thrones’ King’s Landing from some Redditors. My favourite is a digitally illustrated reconstruction of Dublin from 1500: the image is large and high- resolution to the point where you can zoom in on individual Tudor cottages. The original poster has also provided a link to download the full resolution image so it might be worth getting printed and framed for the history buff in your life.

reddit.com/r/papertowns