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. Maps

    America's Loneliest Roads, Mapped

    An interactive map highlights the least traveled routes in the country—and some of the most scenic.

  2. A self-driving Volvo SUV in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company has halted testing of its autonomous vehicle program in the wake of a fatal crash on Sunday.

    How the Self-Driving Dream Might Become a Nightmare

    What will happen if we just accept that a certain number of pedestrian deaths are an inevitable part of adopting autonomous vehicles?

  3. A young refugee from Kosovo stands in front of a map of Hungary with her teacher.

    Who Maps the World?

    Too often, men. And money. But a team of OpenStreetMap users is working to draw new cartographic lines, making maps that more accurately—and equitably—reflect our space.

  4. POV

    The Gateway Project Doesn't Need Trump's Approval

    The $30 billion rail tunnel project may be a victim of President Trump’s feud with Democrats. But New York and New Jersey could still save it.

  5. Equity

    The Austin Bombings Were Terrifying. But Were They 'Terrorism'?

    Absent a motive, the serial bombing attacks in Texas hadn’t been labeled with the term. Now, police say the suspect has been killed.