Cartopareidolia: Seeing People and Animals in Maps

Caitlin Dempsey


Pareidolia is the phenomenon of seeing faces and other features in inanimate objects.  A common example is seeing features in clouds.  So, what does it become when people project features onto maps?  Perhaps, we can call it cartopareidolia?

The Map of the World is Really Just a Cat Playing with a Ball

Seeing An Ice Skating Dragon in a Map of Brooklyn

An example from Twitter:

A Map of Australia is Half Dog’s Head and Half Cat’s Head

Seeing Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants in a Satellite Image of Venice

Imagining a Map of Hawaii as a French Bulldog

For purposeful maps displaying animals and people

Creating animals out of maps

Japanese artist Kentaro Nagai shifts the world’s features around to make animals out of maps: Turning the Continents of the World into Animals

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.