Thirty hits – that’s how many this blog accumulated for the whole of September 2006, the first month of its existence. The numbers for October were a bit better – 3,000 hits – but still nothing to write home about.
The 123,000 hits for November were a bit of a shock for me, but in December the numbers slumped again, to under 40,000. The numbers kept on climbing and falling, with the generally upward trend so beloved by stock traders, and the 500,000 mark was reached on March 24 of the next year, after about 90 posts.
The millionth hit swung around on June 3 of 2007, and thanks to a few very popular posts, the 2 million mark was reached barely a month later, on July 10. Although the hits haven’t kept on increasing as near-exponentially as they did then, the number of visitors has been steady, and high: 10,000-plus on most days, a couple of ten thousands on busy ones.
All of which today adds up to the ten-fold of that first milestone, less than a year ago: 5,000,000 hits. That’s, erhm, stupefying. The last time I had any personal connection with a number that big was when as a kid I was given some bank notes in lira, the famously worthless Italian currency, and became an instant millionaire – just like most of the beggars on the streets or Rome at the time.
This numerical enumeration should not detract from the fact that Strange Maps is not about big numbers, but about, well, strange maps. The mission of this blog remains to find, present and discuss cartography that is fictional, obscure, bizarre, or for some other reason not readily available in regular atlases. To the readers of this blog: thanks for your continued interest, your many map suggestions and your often illuminating comments.
The Atlas of Strange Maps
Strange Maps grew out of a love for maps, and a frustration with atlases. As much as I love to read atlases, most of them essentially tell the same story. The blog was meant to be a repository of maps unlikely to be included in one of those ‘regular’ atlases – an ‘anti-atlas’ (geography buffs might appreciate the double-entendre) aiming not for any kind of comprehensiveness, but only to surprise and delight the many people who love maps.
Even an ‘anti-atlas’ itches to be published, and the 5,000,000 mark might be a good moment to announce that there shortly will be a real-life book, tentatively titled The Atlas of Strange Maps. An agreement to that effect has been concluded with Viking Studio Press, an imprint of Penguin USA.
Although the Atlas will be based on the blog, it will not be a quick-and-dirty blogsploitation job. I’m selecting the best maps on the blog for the book, rewriting the entries to incorporate the many necessary corrections and helpful additions provided. I’m also looking for maps that have not appeared on the blog to be incorporated into the book.The Atlas of Strange Maps will be inspired by the eponymous blog, but will stand apart from it.
Your help requested
I am still determining which of the maps on the blog can be included in the book, and which other maps currently not on the blog might be interesting additions for the book. Several factors are at play – originality, quality and beauty of the map – but an equally crucial one is copyright.
For maps to be included in the book, I will need written permission of the relevant copyright holders. I have been contacting some of those copyright holders (and gotten positive responses from most), but this is a slow, sometimes frustrating process, because copyright holders are often very difficult and sometimes even impossible to trace.
I therefore would like to take this opportunity to put the question directly on the blog, and hopefully reach as many copyright holders as possible this way.
If you are the copyright holder of a map on this blog (or of a ‘strange map’ not yet included here), and would like to be included in the Strange Maps book, please do send me a mail.
please include your name and address, as those will need to be on the permission form that I will send you, which you will need to sign and return to me, either via regular mail or as a pdf.
your copyright will be mentioned in the book, as well as the books or other media context in which the relevant map appears.
All copyright holders whose map(s) will be included in the book will be provided with a free copy of the book (due to the large number of books to be sent, postage will have to be charged).
All correspondence should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please mention the word ‘copyright’ in the subject header.