An Introduction

This is A Cartographer’s Story, a project curated by Daniel P. Huffman and John Nelson. We’re both heart-on-sleeve kinda guys who talk about how our work makes us feel, and whose lives have been meaningfully impacted from the creative act of mapmaking. Our thesis is that there are a lot of other folks out there with powerful and emotional stories about what their work has meant to them, and wouldn’t it be great to hear those?

We hope you’ll find this archive to be inspiring, moving, and enlightening. Most of all, we hope it shows you that you’re not alone. And we’re hopeful that, after having a look through, you’re inspired to share your own stories.

If you want to join us, here’s The Prompt:

Every act of creation is personal. Behind the cartographic theory, tools, and techniques, there is a human being who struggles, who triumphs, and who is driven by more than just a need to earn an income.

While our community has a rich culture of sharing project walkthroughs and clever tricks, our colleagues also need to hear about the personal and emotional relationships we have with our maps. We invest ourselves in creating works that are meant to stir the hearts and imaginations of others—and in return our works invest in us. What are your stories? How has mapping moved you or changed you? Did it encourage you through a tough time? Teach you something about yourself? Represent a significant relationship in your life?

None of us is alone in finding empowerment, redemption, or salvation in our work; this is the gift of working in a creative field. Please consider sharing that gift by telling us stories about the power your maps have had within your own life.

The rest is up to you. There are no rules, no word counts, no style guides. Just write from your heart and soul, and send it to us at

If you’re more comfortable sharing your story anonymously, you can write to us from a fake address, or you can use this form.