Excuse me?

You get what you pay for: Very Expensive Maps is a podcast by cartographer Evan Applegate in which he interviews better cartographers.

Remember: you can, and should, make your own maps.

💰Shill Zone💰

Anyone I should talk to? Let me know below or via veryexpensivemaps at gmail dot com

Episode 20: Aaron Taveras

Aaron Taveras’ maps

Reno cartographer and outdoorsman Aaron Taveras on why he started making his own trail maps, “taking [his] sweet time” to create a hyper-detailed monochrome 4x5’ map of Nevada landforms, beginning a map with the raster data, an inspiring backcountry ski atlas, teaching cartography by disassembling National Park maps, and the beauty of low-amenity public lands.

Episode 19: Jake Coolidge

Jake Coolidge's maps

Redwood City cartographer and artist Jake Coolidge on making maps the hard way with ink, graphite, a metal scribe, copper, wax and ferric chloride, the difference between in silico and in vivo cartographic generalization, creating novel projections with two-point perspective, learning to letter backwards, training the eye before you train your mouse hand, how a mapmaking process will teach you something about the landscape, and his efforts to combine the handmade with the digital.

Episode 18: Dan Coe

Dan Coe's maps

Olympia cartographer and graphics editor Dan Coe on his journey from Alaska sea kayak guide to geomorphology storyteller, what you learn in an office (and family) full of geologists, getting laid off and traveling the world for a year, how the paths of ancient glaciers shaped his neighborhood, the hidden landscapes revealed by infrared laser pulses, and how a few minutes at work adjusting one color ramp seeded hundreds of beautiful river images.

Episode 17: Anton Thomas

Anthon Thomas' hand-drawn maps

Nelson artist-cartographer Anton Thomas discusses his travels from Utah to the Himalayas, creating “that mix of serious cartography and serious art,” logging his drawing time with a stopwatch, collecting photo references for 1,500 species, how drawing the little cartouche map-within-a-map can get out of hand, and closing on three years of work to finish his 40x24" map of the world.

Episode 16: Nat Slaughter

Nat Slaughter's map of Central Park

Cupertino cartographer, designer and artist Nat Slaughter on using hardcore wildlife survey techniques to count squirrels with Jamie Allen, putting sound installations in shipping containers, the two years of shoe-leather data collection that went into his 5x2’ Central Park map, his desire to walk from Basel to the North Sea, how a one-hour deadline can have (occasionally) sublime results, and an 800-year-old map that feels like it was created yesterday.

Discussed and inspiring:

Episode 15: Jane Crosen

Jane Crosen's maps

Penobscot, Maine mapmaker Jane Crosen discusses her 40+ year cartographic career, the sound advice of “when in doubt, leave it out,” creating spoof maps for the nautical market, producing two expanded and rearranged editions of George Colby's 1881 atlases of Downeast Maine counties, becoming “[her] own typesetting machine” with a calligraphy pen, the feeling of looking through an airplane window at the landscape she’s drawn so many times, and her “paste-up” map design process that involves a light table, a proportional scale wheel, a pica ruler, mylar, pencils, a 000 brush and india ink. You won’t be surprised to learn this interview was conducted via landline. 

Episode 14: Jug Cerović

Jug Cerovic's maps

Madrid architect and mapmaker Jug Cerović discusses the transit cartographer’s ability to shape reality, drawing hundreds of bus lines by hand, mapping first and visiting later, installing guerrilla maps in his hometown of Belgrade, organizing a new map conference, helping Apple create a good public transit layer, and how seeing Istakhri’s 1,100-year-old maps will make one feel like a tyro.

Episode 13: Jeff Murray

Jeff Murray's maps

Somerset pen-and-ink artist Jeff Murray discusses sketching across the world during his ski bum years, selling his first print off a folding table in New Zealand, drawing in ten-hour chunks, the joy of selling art out of a gazebo, why he works at the continental scale, playing with perspective, his two hand-painted globes, and the choice words people have when his hyper-detailed maps don’t include their particular landmark.

Episode 12: Carl Churchill

Carl Churchill's maps

New Jersey cartographer and Wall Street Journal graphics editor Carl Churchill talks his map vocation and EDM avocation, spending two weeks on an elaborate wildflower-detection remote sensing script before an editor (correctly) tossed it, making fantasy maps with GIS tools, what drum loops taught him about radar interferometry, why "get paid to do what you love" will make you fall out of love, and how you can make beautiful maps with a good inspo board, a tolerance for academic papers and a willingness to try.

Cartographers he recommends:

Episode 11: Elliot Park

Columbia Pressworks’ copper map of NYC

Columbia designer, illustrator and country songwriter Elliot Park on his ten year quest to hydraulically press a good map into good materials. Discussed: the lack of texture in today’s stuff, moving from DEM to CNC to a big beautiful copper/leather map, learning by (expensive) trial, and the challenge of creating lasting art that’s meant to be touched.

Episode 10: Kirsten Sparenborg

Kirsten Sparenborg’s maps

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Interviews recorded with Cleanfeed or Ennui Castr or, if I need to use an actual phone call, Google Voice/WhatsApp + Audio Hijack (vidcalls delenda est), edited with Audacity, hosted with Spotify for Podcasters, audio sometimes cleaned up with Adobe Podcast, I do not recommend this mic. Site designed with Dorik which I like because it’s fast.


Evan Applegate, I’ve mapped for twelve years, you’ll see my work in National Geographic, Manhattan lobbies, at the fête next to the funnel cake. Anyone can make a map and everyone should try their hand.