Arts and Crafts: Map Making
January 28, 2008 11:06 AM   Subscribe

I would like to make or buy a detailed map of my neighborhood in Manhattan. I want it to be poster sized and nice enough looking to hang on the wall. I also want to be able to make notes on it, put push pins in it and post it on my wall.

Assuming I live here here and would like the map to be highly detailed, how could I make a large scale map of my neighborhood?

I want this above all to be usable, so when I forget where the wine shop I liked was, or where my girlfriend's favorite Mexican place is, I can simply check the map.

Also for area covered I'm thinking (roughly) West Side Highway to 1st Ave, 14th Street to Canal.
posted by 2bucksplus to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You need a custom laminated radius map, such as this. You can mark on this, with erasable markers, any landmarks, stores, etc., not shown on the map, or draw routes, write notes, whatever. They are available down to a 1-mile radius, so 2 miles across, on a 5' x 6.5' sheet (2 smaller sizes).
posted by beagle at 11:20 AM on January 28, 2008

Which details are you looking for? There are many different types of maps and there can be extremely detailed maps that have none of the information you want.
posted by winston at 11:48 AM on January 28, 2008

I don't care about landmarks, subways and street names would be enough. I intend to do all the other labeling myself.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:51 AM on January 28, 2008

Do you have any photo editing software? If you do, you could use something like New York CityMap, and do a lot of semi-painful stitching together, as close as they'll let you.

Then take it to a printing place, and print it out nice and big.

NYC GIS seems a little bit guarded, because I can't find any really available things to put together a street map, although something could probably be managed with the Census's TIGER line data.
posted by that girl at 12:04 PM on January 28, 2008

Sadly I have neither the photo editing software, nor the photo editing knowledge to do that, but the site is great.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:14 PM on January 28, 2008

Identity Map Co. sells a color-coded 36x48 poster that shows all of Manhattan south of 18th St., plus parts of Brooklyn and Jersey City. The scale is said to be 1":450'.

If you're handy with scissors and tape, check out the free, large-scale tiffs of the Brooklyn and Jersey City quad maps. (I think the linked pages contain both the State-made black & white quads and the traditional US-made color quads. B&W is probably better for your purposes.) As noted above, you can always go to someplace like Kinko's for poster-sized printing.

Very large scale pdfs are downloadable from the NYC Dept of City Planning, but, for your purposes, these detailed zoning maps are probably too cluttered with extraneous (zoning) information.

I assume that there are other alternatives, but nothing else leaps to mind at the moment. Before you commit to a purchase, make sure you can see the kind of detail you have in mind. You're talking about a poster-sized picture of an area that's more than a mile on a side. Maybe a mile and a half across 14th St. from the Hudson to 1st Ave. And please post here if you find something great.
posted by Dave 9 at 12:34 PM on January 28, 2008

Not For Tourists is the absolute best -- they sell individual neighborhood maps (24" by 26") for $30 bucks that are really very nice looking. You could buy the one with the "Sundries & Entertainment" overlay and then add your own push pins to the great start they've already given you...
posted by acorn1515 at 12:37 PM on January 28, 2008

Oops -- the NFT poster is actually 24" by 36" big.
posted by acorn1515 at 12:39 PM on January 28, 2008

If you want to try homemade, you could try printing out a large scale map image yourself. The Rasterbator is a decent tool for this. I'm looking at a picture of my niece that's 5x5 pieces of standard 8.5" x 11" of paper.

As for the image, maybe try something like Google Maps Image Downloader. I've never used it but it looks pretty straightforward and would likely suit your needs.
posted by funkiwan at 1:25 PM on January 28, 2008

Seconding the rasterbator, it is awesome. I'm an artist and I am using it to blow up some photographs that I am painting.
posted by Melsky at 4:25 PM on January 28, 2008

Try to get ahold of one of those neighborhood maps from the MTA that you see in subway stations. I have one from a friend-of-a-friend, and it's huge--probably about 3'x4.5'. It would be perfect for what you're looking for, as it's very easy to read and it has the subways and streets clearly marked.

I'm not sure where the one I have came from, but I know the MTA sometimes sells cast-off gear/signs/etc:

Also try eBay or Craigslist or that antique store on Houston St--I think it's at Elizabeth, it's on the north side of the street and it's east of the Broadway-Lafayette stop. They sell subway signs, furniture, etc. It's a cool place to poke around even if they don't have maps.
posted by min at 10:14 AM on January 29, 2008

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