Contemporary Elevation Data and Historical Maps Merge in Scott Reinhard’s Digital Works




November 19, 2020

Grace Ebert

1966 Allen’s Creek, Indiana. All pictures © Scott Reinhard, shared with permission

By day, Scott Reinhard designs graphics for The New York Occasions. Lately, he created a United States map detailing the place city-dwellers fled throughout the pandemic and one other exhibiting how the Pantanal wetland in Brazil has reworked into a massive inferno. Incorporating an ever-growing swath of information, his day by day duties are linked to the fluctuations of reports cycles.

However in his off-hours, the Brooklyn-based designer takes a broader have a look at the state of the nation. He merges classic maps and up to date elevation information, creating beautiful digital works that flatten the variations of time and house into hybrid objects. Whereas his graphics for The Occasions are rooted in the ever-changing current, his private work is nestled inside historic contexts.


1962 Demotte Park

Reinhard’s curiosity in information and map-generation grew whereas he was pursuing a grasp’s diploma in graphic design at North Carolina State College, significantly throughout an introductory course centered round geographic information systems. “I principally turned conscious of all these cartography instruments that I had no concept about. As a result of I wasn’t coming from that background, I used to be free to mess around… and strategy visualizing geographic information in new and fascinating methods,” he says.

That experimental interval spurred Reinhard’s concepts of fusing historic maps and up to date land elevations, and he started exploring filtering, a cartographic methodology that calculates a theoretical solar and offers information about corresponding landscapes. “It’s fairly crude, however it actually fascinated me that from a flat, black-and-white picture, which is principally what elevation information seems to be like, you might interpolate this scene,” he shares, noting that he started to work with 3-D renderings across the similar time. “That information that’s saved in a paper map can nonetheless be activated.”


1928 Los Angeles

Since 2019, Reinhard has refined his focus and shifted to bigger sequence. “I’m nonetheless in these USGS (United States Geological Survey) maps as graphic objects and as actually lovely works of graphic design. What I’ve actually been having fun with is to construct these out,” he says. The extra complete collections have included research of Alaskan maps from the 1950s, one sequence targeted on the Oregon coast, and one other contemplating south-central Indiana the place he was raised.

A macro-view captures the intricacies and histories etched into the panorama of a area, showcasing glacial formations, seismic exercise, and how a mountain vary emerged throughout a interval of years. “I noticed as soon as I began visualizing the panorama that, on a day-to-day standpoint whenever you go searching you, you see elevation modifications, however you don’t actually see patterns. We’re just a bit too small,” he says. As a result of USGS maps make the most of coordinates, in addition they circumvent extra political orientations discovered in paperwork outlining territories or different cordoned-off areas, providing a chance to right false narratives which were perpetuated by cartographic objects in the previous. The historic maps maintain extra data on tendencies and intervals in design, which manifest in aesthetic decisions like type and coloration.

Reinhard presently is working his method by means of producing a collection of USGS-recommended maps from the 1950s, a novel undertaking that’s rooted in exploration and curiosity. “All maps are exaggerations, to some extent,” he says. “You’ll be able to push and pull what the map says and what the map tells you.” Discover Reinhard’s in depth assortment of digital works on Instagram and his web site, the place he additionally sells an array of prints.


1948 Cordova, Alaska

1928 Topanga

1962 Vishnu Temple

1963 Anchorage, Alaska

1951 Menan Buttes

1950 Strasbourg



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