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David Imus’ map wins ‘Best of Show’ award

US: A map created by David Imus won the most prestigious honour of mapmaking in the US, Best of Show Award, during the 38th annual competition of the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS). At first glance, Imus’ “The Essential Geography of the United States of America” may look like any other US wall map. It is about 4 feet by 3 feet. It uses a standard, two-dimensional conic projection. It has place names, political boundaries, lakes, rivers and highways.
The five most recent winners were all maps designed by large, well-known institutions: National Geographic (three times), the Central Intelligence Agency Cartography Center and the US Census Bureau.
The secret of Imus’ map is in its careful attention to design. These days, almost all the data, cartographers use, is provided by the government and is freely available in the public domain. What separates a great map from a terrible one is choosing which data to use and how best to present it.
Imus (a 35-year veteran of cartography) worked alone on his map seven days a week for two full years. Nearly 6,000 hours in total. He used a computer (not a pencil and paper), but absolutely nothing was left to computer-assisted happenstance. Imus spent eons tweaking label positions. 
Imus’ map uses thick lines to indicate state borders and reserves the colour for more important purposes—green for denser forestation, yellow for population centres. Instead of hypsometric tinting (darker colours for lower elevations, lighter colours for higher altitudes), Imus uses relief shading for a more natural portrait of US terrain.