Holiday Season Gift Ideas Created by the GIS Community

Caitlin Dempsey


Looking for a holiday gift idea for the geographers in your life and want to support the GIS community?  Listed here are some great gift ideas produced by geographers.  
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Map Coloring Book

Do you have a map lover in your life? Perhaps an urban-grid aficionado? A gift of City Maps: A Coloring Book for Adults might be just the thing to put under the tree this year. For anyone, but for map lovers in particular, city patterns formed by the interplay of urban streets, buildings, water, and park features, can be endlessly fascinating. Perhaps you’ve heard of the “loops & lollipops” effect or the “degenerate grid” patterns. No? These are otherwise known as suburban cul de sac neighborhoods and city housing blocks (see Built Landscapes of Metropolitan Regions).

There are a wide variety of patterns around the world that are relatively consistent in their appearance from above but there is a uniqueness in each place as well. That’s what the City Maps coloring book set out to illustrate when it was first published in the spring of 2016. It sold thousands of copies in its first year. Its popularity is most likely due to our fascination with these human-constructed street and building patterns in cities around the world. The book provides up-close views of large monuments like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with its “road spokes” converging on the famous monument. It shows us streets made of water and buildings tucked into small spaces like the area around the Grand Canal in Venice. Even airports like the International Airport in Mexico City have their unique beauty in their pattern of parallel runways and criss-crossing taxiways. Gretchen Peterson’s City Maps has these and many more to color, derived from OpenStreetMap data, projected and at large-scale. Indeed, the book is full of little snippets of city patterns all around the world just waiting to be explored and colored.

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More GIS and Cartography Books from Gretchen

Are you giving a gift to someone who not only loves maps but makes maps too? Peterson’s other three acclaimed books on cartographic principles (Like GIS Cartography) and how-tos should also be on the list! From Gretchen:

Cartographer’s Toolkit (Amazon link) is about three things: colors, typography, and patterns.  The first chapter is full of color palettes that have been tested on my own maps–and that are used on as well– showcased on sample maps so you can easily flip through and pick something applicable to your particular data. It’s meant to be a short-cut in the color picking process. Also meant to be a short-cut is the next chapter, typography, which has 50 different typefaces shown in maps, with descriptions that are applicable to cartographic design. It makes it easier to choose a typeface that will set your map apart from all the rest. The third chapter discusses 28 different map composition patterns, from animation, to choropleth, to some interesting new map techniques like type maps and flow maps. Each of the patterns are illustrated with one or more maps from great cartographers who are doing amazing work in our profession right now. Anyone who wants to make maps that are informative, inspired, and original will get something out of this book.

Authored by two prominent advocates for open GIS, QGIS Map Design was written to expand the cartographic skills of those using this free and open source GIS software program.  Written by Anita Graser and Gretchen Peterson teaches users how to enhance their knowledge of layer styling, labeling, and designing print maps.  Both Peterson and Graser have been interviewed on GIS Lounge as part of the Profiles from the Geospatial Community series.

Order: QGIS Map Design is available in print as a paperback (ISBN:978-0989421751, 200 pages, $36.99) or as an e-book ($24.99).

2018 GeoHipster calendar

Made by GIS professionals for GISers, the 2018 GeoHipster calendar contains hand selected maps submitted by the geospatial community.  The 2018 calendar features maps by: Topi Tjukanov, Andrew Zolnai, Lene Fischer, Chris Kohler, Kurt Menke, Atanas Entchev, Matthew Aufrecht, Vanessa Knoppke-Wetzel, Nathaniel Jeffrey, Jonah Adkins, Kate Keeley, and David Fawcett.  Orders are “print-to-order” and take 3-5 days to ship.

Past Gift Guides

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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.