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Frank Jacobs

Journalist, writer, and blogger

Frank Jacobs is Big Think's "Strange Maps" columnist.

From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.

While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.

"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".

A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.

strange maps

The Vinland Map was discovered in 1957, bound up with a manuscript of undisputed antiquity, the Historia Tartorum. The map supposedly is a 15th century copy of a 13th century […]
Pigs (or hogs, or swine, or Sus – the Latin name for the species) are  omnivorous mammals of Eurasian origin, closely related to hippopotami and generally more known for being tasty than clever […]
A British map, I presume, made between 1937 and 1940, showing the German plans for the conquest of Europe “revealed by Secret Nazi Map” – I don’t know if that […]