Image: Gareth Wood

Most maps today are the result of a cold, hard, scientific approach. Based off satellite data, they’ll tell you exactly how far it is from one place to the next, the most direct route there, where a certain city is in relation to another, that sort of thing.

But there is much they don’t tell you — like what it all means on a more human level.

Well, one artist is changing that. Gareth Wood, who also goes by the pseudonym Fuller, has taken cartography and somehow made it personal again, even in the age of Google Streetview and GPS.

Perhaps Wood’s most impressive effort so far is the London Town map, completed this year after he put a decade of arduous work into it.

“It is a meticulously drawn, cryptic code, mirroring the city and its unmistakable vibe,” reads the text on Wood’s Fuller Maps site.

Image: Gareth Wood

Produced in black ink on archival mount board, the map measures 91cm by 116cm. It depicts a River Thames snaking through a chaotic landscape that’s sure to appeal to your inner anglophile. An inflatable pig sails overtop Battersea Power Station, a reference to the album artwork for their album Animals, and somewhere, under the cover of intricate lines, Jack the Ripper hides in plain sight.

Free from the limitations of scale and accuracy, Wood is free to draw the city as he sees it. It’s a beautiful, quirky piece of cartography: just don’t plan your next trip around the UK’s capital using it, unless you want to get lost.

Maybe that’s the point.

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