I am really into making lists. Lists for work tasks, shopping or even house duties. For the last months I have been reading cartography related books a lot. So there you have, my favorite books in a list.


🎼 Fundamentals

  • Cartography. by K. Field. The more detailed cartography glossary you would find in a book shelf. The way it is writen allows you to go as deep as you want in any particular topic. The infographics, maps and annotations are also great.
  • Introduction to GIS, and his big brother, Sistemas de Informacion Geografica (only in Spanish) by Victor Olaya. These two books are a perfect introduction to GIS. The first is a short essay, while the second is huge text book.
  • Elements of Cartography by A.H. Robinson. Robinson’s book is a classic and a must. I had difficulties to buy it, but it was worth all the pennies.
  • Mapping It Out and How to Lie with Maps by M. Monmonier. Everyone knows and cites Monmonier work when warning about the lies and pitfalls that a cartographer could make, but very few I have seen studies and put in practice the first piece of work.
  • How Maps Work by A.M. MacEachren. Reading and understanding maps is not as easy as communicate a message. MacEachren book is key if we want to know what is behind our eyes and mind when we have a map on front of us.
  • Semiology of Graphics by J. Bertin. Although I have not read it yet, its references are all over the place. Hopefully I will be able to adquire on by a reasonable price.
  • Designing Better Maps by C.A. Brewer. A guide for GIS users to design better maps. I wish I had read this book when I started learning GIS.

🎸 Practice

  • Visualize This by N. Yau. Probably the first book I bought on this list. A step by step guide to create and design good infographics (with a big cartography section using Python and R).
  • Cartographer’s Toolkit by G.N. Peterson. Nice ideas to help your cartographic mind and hands.
  • QGIS Map Design by A. Graser and G.N. Peterson. These two ladies will break your QGIS workflows and expand the variety of styling options. A must.
  • Designed Map. A sourcebook for GIS users by C.A. Brewer. Similar in a way to Peterson’s toolkit, Cyntia’s sourcebook is a good compendium of good maps categorized by type.
  • Fantasy Mapmaker and Fantasy Art & RPG Maps by J. Blando. If you are really into fantasy maps (as I am) these two will be your best friends.

📊 Data Visualization

  • Data Points by N. Yau. The second book of the author of the FlowingData blog is perfect as a first dataviz read because of its simple language and amazing inforgraphics.
  • Design for Information by I. Meirelles. I literally love this book. You can open it in any page and get an amazing visualization with a better explanation of the theory behind.
  • The Art of Statistics by D. Spiegelhalter. A highly recommend statistic book to review a subject that is constantly used in cartography using real examples.
  • The Truthful Art, The Functional Art and How Charts Lie by A. Cairo.
  • The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by E. Tufte. A very inspirational book. It is nice to review Tufte’s work and see that others have been there and come up with a nicer solution.
  • Fundamentals of Data Visualization by C.O. Wilke. A very complete open and free dataviz book.

🌎 Geography

  • Geography. Why it matters? by A.B. Murphy. A nice reading to give you an overview of the past, present and future of geography.
  • Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel by J. Diamond. These two books blown my mind. Diamond holistic approach to understand the fate of civilizations are unique.
  • The Revenge of Geography by R. Kaplan, Prisoners of Geography by T. Marshall and Origins. How the Earth Made Us by L. Dartnell. Similarly to Diamond’s work, these three books explain the role of geography in the geopolitics of our era.
  • The Invention of Nature by A. Wulf. Without Humbdoldt there is no Darwin. A beautiful biography of one of my favorite characters in History.

📜 History

  • Why North is Up by M. Ashworth. Recommended by Victor Olaya, Ashworth’s book is a nice journey through our cartographic bias.
  • The Ghost Map by S. Johnson. The “real” story behind John Snow’s map of cholera outbreaks.
  • Never Lost Again by B. Killday. The back story of Google Earth and Maps by one of its protagonists.
  • A History of the World in Twelve Maps by J. Brotton.
  • Longitude by D. Sobel, The Great Arc by J. Keay and Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey by R. Hewitt. Three books to learn about the longitude problem, the measurement of the Himalayas and the mapping of the Indian subcontinent and the History of the British Ordnance Survey respectively.

🎲 Miscellaneous

  • Design with Nature by I. McHarg. Landscape archictecture, land use management, GIS and art, all in one book.
  • Where Animals Go by J. Cheshire and O. Uberti. If you love National Geographic maps, this is your book.
  • On Growth and Form by D. Thompson. Geometries are a very recurrent topic in cartography. Understanding the evolution and constraints of shapes in Nature could give you a better idea on how to deal with them.
  • The Exposed City by N. Amoroso. I really love Hugh Ferriss’s drawings. As explained in the book, they are three dimensional maps of a possible future.
  • The Secret Live of Colors by K. St. Clair and Just My Type by S. Garfield. These two books go chapter by chapter explaining the stories and curiosities behind each color and type respectively.
  • On the Map by S. Garfield and Maphead by K. Jennings. I had a great time reading these two books, they are a must if you love maps.