Rihards Piks/GrafoMap

The new company GrafoMap gives any location in the world—yes, any—the artsy treatment.

There are many ways to map a big city: by subway lines, by smells, by noises, by bike routes, by neighborhood, by music produced.

But what if you just want to carve out a map of a place—and the specific spot within that place—that represents local pride for you?

The Riga, Latvia-based company GrafoMap, which launched two months ago, makes it possible to do just that. On the website, you can search for any location in the world, zoom in or out to your heart’s content, and select one of four filters to create a completely custom print. (You can see how five CityLab editors chose to rep their hometowns, below.)

Left to right: Jessica Leigh Hester; Eillie Anzilotti; Juan Pablo Garnham (Mark Byrnes/CityLab)

It’s one of those products that’s both brilliant and so, so simple. Co-founder Rihards Piks says GrafoMap was inspired by a WordPress plugin, Snazzy Maps, that applies colored filters to the maps featured on the “contact us” sections of blogs. He and his co-founder were fascinated; they spent 10 months figuring out how to adapt the idea to a large-scale poster format using the design tool Mapbox to manipulate images from the OpenStreetMap database.

Mark Byrnes
Adam Sneed

Piks hopes the maps will show how even the most familiar places can become works of art. “I like how you can look at a map and realize that the layout of the city is actually completely different than what it feels like when you navigate the streets,” he said. And that goes for any city, town, or village in the world.

18” x 24” print, $49, at GrafoMap.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Homes in Amsterdam are pictured.
    Equity

    Amsterdam's Plan: If You Buy a Newly Built House, You Can't Rent It Out

    In an effort to make housing more affordable, the Dutch capital is crafting a law that says anyone who buys a newly built home must live in it themselves.

  2. Design

    Cities Deserve Better Than These Thomas Heatherwick Gimmicks

    The “Vessel” at New York’s Hudson Yards—like so many of his designs—look as if the dystopian world of 1984 has been given a precious makeover.

  3. Transportation

    China's 50-Lane Traffic Jam Is Every Commuter's Worst Nightmare

    What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.

  4. Life

    Think You’re Faster Than the D.C. Streetcar? Think Again.

    Streetcars without dedicated lanes tend to be on the slow side. But beating this much-maligned public transportation mode on foot wasn’t as easy as it looks.

  5. North Carolina's legislature building.
    Life

    Should Government Agencies Move Out of Capital Cities?

    North Carolina may relocate its Division of Motor Vehicles from Raleigh to boost lagging Rocky Mount. Can this be a national model for decentralizing power?