Neural Cartography

These images are output from a generative model trained on maps from the Stanford Library Collection. You'll see the model has learned crests, topography, waterways, and various illustrations styles.

The aesthetic features of maps which have emerged over time range from artistic (faces in clouds blowing wind, ornate compass roses, sea monsters) to the more practical (coordinate lines, details of water currents, precise topography). Often times, the features of maps were expressly designed to coordinate with outside technologies like sextants, compasses, and navigation charts. Of course, the maps most of us encounter today are radically mediated by technology, viewed digitally with the aid of system in orbit. The visual consistency of maps, and their ability to blend a technologically derived picture of reality with artistic commentary makes them a useful material for AI sketches.


Modern Maps