Ever since I started making the graphics for our weekly City Guide posts, I’ve started seeing maps in an entirely new light. While I once associated them with frustrating family road trips and dull geography lessons in middle school, I’ve begun to look at them as little works of art—human productions that are beautiful ways of displaying data. Although everyday maps can be pretty rad on their own, the topographic work of designer Nicholas Weltyk takes the art of cartography to a whole new level. I recently stumbled upon Weltyk’s collection of posters commemorating the world’s largest impact craters at a trade show and became totally enamored with their simultaneous simplicity and intricacy.
In order to create these posters, Weltyk began by stitching together disparate images he had collected of the impact craters, from aerial photos of the areas to actual maps. All of the posters in the set were constructed from ten sheets of gray museum board, each board containing laser-cut cross section of the overall image. Once cut, Weltyk then applied adhesive to each board and went through the laborious (and probably quite tedious) process of stacking them up. The final layer, which contains the title and basic information, was printed using a large-format inkjet printer and applied in the same fashion to the top of the piece. Because the entire map is essentially composed using one color, the only differentiation between spaces and forms is created through shadow and the way that light falls on the piece. The end result is a multilayered, three-dimensional work that is at once precise and wonderfully abstract. Check out more images of these beautiful maps after the jump! —Max