What are different types of book maps?

You see maps in many books and magazines – whether novels or non-fiction, travel or history, even memoirs.

Among the most common types I’ve collaborated on with clients are maps for education, maps to give geographic context to readers, and maps that help tell the story.

Maps for education

Whether it’s for a history book, a scientific manuscript, or an atlas, these maps help educate. They can be historical maps, hand-drawn sketches by the author, or full reference maps, that contribute to our knowledge.

In the previous newsletter, I talked about where to get maps, including some links to digital historical map collections.

I’m currently collaborating with authors and editors on maps for an atlas of U.S. history, due out next year. We are compiling information from multiple historical maps and the authors’ research to create maps that show historical information in a new light.

Maps for geographic context

This has been the most common type I’ve created. These maps help readers understand geography of unfamiliar places. I’ve written some blog posts about these types of projects, so you can see how these maps are developed. These include maps about infrastructure and displacement, maps showing locations mentioned in memoirs, maps showing settings in novels, among others.

I’ve been working with a publisher in Switzerland for several years, creating overview maps of travel destinations. These maps show readers the places mentioned in the articles. The map of northern Italy below is one of these; the other two maps were for memoirs.

Maps that help tell a story

Maps help tell stories by showing places and names, but sometimes they have more information such as routes. The map style can also help bring the story to life. The maps below are in a historical novel, and are meant to look like the map the protagonist created. The map on the right was an early draft showing the hero’s travels, but those routes were removed for the final draft.

Contact me

Of course there is overlap between these types of maps, but hopefully this shows that maps can be used in almost any book that mentions places. 

If you need a map for your book or magazine, contact me for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Please follow and share on LinkedInInstagram, and Facebook.

Subscribe to get the next newsletter delivered to your email inbox