Lonely Planet’s portfolio of travel products includes dozens of maps; in November, the company will add five destinations, Havana and Porto among them, to its City Map line. Also that month, the publisher will take a new cartographic turn with The Travel Atlas, the brand’s first comprehensive foray into the format, and one of several titles to chart new mapmaking territory.
The Travel Atlas includes 233 maps, highlighting popular destinations at a larger scale, and suggests themed itineraries spanning from two days to two weeks. Piers Pickard, managing director, publishing, at Lonely Planet, says the book uses maps to “talk about amazing experiences around the world instead of population, transport routes, and political geography.” By zeroing in on a region’s attractions—stellar beaches, for instance, or fortified French towns—the atlas asserts itself as a trip-organizing tool, a goal reinforced by its location on travel section shelves rather than among reference titles.
It could hold appeal for the same readers who flocked to 2016’s Atlas Obscura, which revealed an appetite for maps that go beyond statistical data and delve into more offbeat territory. The title, which has sold 321,000 print copies, has spawned calendars, journals, and, pubbing in September, The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid (Workman; ages 8–12).
Written by Atlas Obscura cofounder Dylan Thuras and science communicator Rosemary Mosco, and illustrated by Joy Ang, the book charts a fantastical journey to 100 destinations in 47 countries, kicking off in Iceland and concluding in Chile. Along the way, readers learn that New Zealand is home to the world’s heaviest parrot, get the story of a new volcano that erupted in a Mexican farmer’s field in 1943, and more.
Rather than follow a geographically logical route, “we thought it would be more interesting and fun to make connections between the natural and man-made wonders that permeate throughout the world, between two seemingly different places,” says Danny Cooper, editor at Workman. A child might be surprised to see, for instance, that Tennessee and Indonesia are linked by a common feature: towering tree houses. The endpapers each sport a world map: one conventional, the other marked up with a zigzag pattern charting the fictional trip’s chaotic route.
Other publishers are also putting a twist on the traditional atlas this fall. October brings Chronicle’s Living Maps by artist Adam Dant, a collection of 28 creatively interpreted city plans. In one example, the addition of a head and tasselled tail transforms a map of Venice into a lion.
Also that month, National Geographic releases All Over the Map by science journalists Betsy Mason and Greg Miller, based on the pair’s cartography blog of the same name. The book depicts the factual—e.g. natural vegetation across the U.S.—and the fanciful, such as a map of Westeros from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.
These innovations aside, publishers are not abandoning the traditional map, and neither are travelers. National Geographic’s “Adventure Travel Map of Iceland” has sold 40,000 print copies since it pubbed in 2016; Rand McNally’s folded U.S. interstate map, a 2010 release, has sold 165,000 print copies, 18,000 of them this year to date.
Michelin produced its first road map in 1910; today, the publisher’s printed map offerings number in the hundreds. In 2017, the publisher recommitted to the format with its acquisition of the accordion-style Streetwise Maps. The company plans to add Hawaii, San Antonio, Denver, Las Vegas, and San Diego to the offerings, currently 40 titles strong, in fall 2018 and spring 2019.