New York City Map Contest

The Cartographers’ Guild is running a map-making competition for September-October – Mapping the Big Apple Challenge. The top 45 maps will be featured in a gallery exhibition at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art, with prints available for public purchase (70% of the price after print costs go to the artist).

Here are all the details in their own words:

The Cartographers’ Guild, in partnership with the Soho Gallery for Digital Art, presents Mapping the Big Apple. The challenge is to create a map inspired by New York. From early drafts of the streets of New Amsterdam, to the grid layout of Manhattan when Central Park was first proposed to the iconic New Yorker cover from March 29th, 1976 – New York has always inspired cartographers and artists with its streets and avenues. And not just cartographers. Manhattan has been destroyed in more ways that any other city. From the monster of Cloverfield to the ice age of The Day After Tomorrow – New York has taken it all. Now it’s your task to take this iconic skyline and represent it in your own way.

In this challenge you must create a map inspired by New York. It must be letter sized (11″ by 8.5″) or larger and a minimum of 150dpi. Beyond that, your imagination can be your guide. It can be anything from an ant colony in central park to an airship shipping lane map with a terminus on top of the Empire State. As long as New York is involved in some way, your map will be eligible.

The contest will run until the 31st of October, after which there will be a round of public voting. The top 45 maps will be included in an exhibition at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art that will run in Manhattan from the 16th of November until the 12th of December. As part of the exhibition, the gallery will sell prints of the maps to the public, with 70% of the price after print costs going to the artists. The top three entries will get pride of place at the center of the gallery and the winner will have their work used in publicity material for the show.

All successful entrants will get a special badge as recognition of their work being in the show. The artists who have the top three maps will get a golden compass. There will be more prizes during the two months that will be announced as we go forward – so keep an eye on this forum for other opportunities!

In contrast to previous challenges, each artist may submit up to three pieces.

If you’re new to the site, each challenge entry must have it’s own thread in this forum.

  • The thread title should start “September-October Challenge:
  • More WIPs generally make for more votes – don’t be shy about putting up early sketches
  • Use the attachment manager to put up WIP images (the paperclip at the top of the advanced editing window).
  • Put ### Latest WIP ### before every thumbnail so that the thumbnail scraper can put together a thumbs page for the challenge.

A few other notes about the contest:

  • All entries must be submitted on the Cartographers’ Guild before the 31st of October.
  • Ranking of the entries will be by public vote on the Cartographers’ Guild.
  • Each artist can enter up to three pieces.
  • To enter a piece you must be willing to sign a contract with the gallery that certifies that you are the copyright owner for the map, or that you have the right to show it and sell copies.
  • The gallery show is conditional upon more than 45 entries. If fewer than 45 maps are entered into the competition the show will be dependent upon agreement of the gallery – so encourage your friends to enter. Please feel free to post this around the internet at other art sites you frequent. The more the merrier.

Good luck and happy mapping!

*** –> Click here to join the competition <– ***


  1. Thanks! It should be a great show. We already have 15 entries. So far entries range from 3D New Amsterdam, through zombies in Central Park to a 5 boroughs space ship. Definitely interested to see the final line up in a couple of months!

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