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According to Wikipedia, ASCII-art is one of the earliest techniques used for digital graphical design. An ASCII-art technique can be traced back to 1939 and computer-art pioneers have used it since 1966. Nowadays ASCII art can be found in info files, console applications, non-graphic computer terminals and etc.

Around the Web one can see various beautiful examples of ASCII art, but not as that impressive examples of maps. Do you think that ASCII-art is just far too unsuitable for cartographic purposes? If not, can you post examples of an ASCII-art map?

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The main reason I would not choose ASCII for cartography is limited projection options, but as long as the map is intended for art or information rather than measurement, who cares? ASCII maps are typically at such coarse scale (i.e., country/continent) that nobody would be trying to navigate with them, anyway. –  Erica Aug 28 at 11:34

2 Answers 2

there are a few examples on this site, like the maps of Africa and USA below. Also one map here and here

Also note that in the first days of digital image analysis, raster images where printed with ascii caracters (one caracter per value). This was not really "art", but it was the only way to visualise (on screen or on paper) a raster when screens and printer were monochrome.

          ___________
           / |       | |
        ,' ,'         \/',_    __
     ,'__/             |    ',|  "'-,,,,,,,
   ,/  _|',            |                |   \
   |  |   |',           \               |    \
   |__|   |  ',          ',             |     \
  /       |     ',        ,_"""""---'-_,'______\
 /        |        ',,_-'"    |        |        ',
|_________|         |         /        |        / ',,'""""|
|__  |        ,____/         |        _|       /    |___  /
'\___|      ,'_,'|_,-,_______|         |       /      , '/
  \,' _', _/  ,, ,',|        |          \       |   '" ,'
   \ / |_ ,  |  \||||       ,' |      ,'|    _""    |,'
    ' ,'  ', |  ||||| __ ,'   _|_ ,'    |    |""---/
       ' ,"""','"""""" |     /           \"""|    /
                      |_____|_      __''"    \   |
                     |  |  /  """"""   |      \ /
                      \ / |            |       /
                       \--'            |      /
                       |   \__        _|__    |
                       |      |__     |   ',,,|
                       |         |____|   /   |
                       /         _|    ,,'_   |
                      |__________|___,'  ,,' /
                       \      ---'    \,/  ,'
                        \     |    ,,,' \_/
                         |    |_,''      |/
                         |    |       []_|
                          \___'        /
                           \       __,'
                            \_____/        FoulWing



         ,__                                                  _,
 \~\|  ~~---___              ,                          | \
  | Wash./ |   ~~~~~~~|~~~~~| ~~---,                VT_/,ME>
 /~-_--__| |  Montana |N Dak\ Minn/ ~\~~/Mich.     /~| ||,'
 |Oregon /  \         |------|   { WI / /~)     __-NY',|_\,NH
/       |Ida.|~~~~~~~~|S Dak.\    \   | | '~\  |_____,|~,-'Mass.
|~~--__ |    | Wyoming|____  |~~~~~|--| |__ /_-'Penn.{,~Conn (RI)
|   |  ~~~|~~|        |    ~~\ Iowa/  `-' |`~ |~_____{/NJ
|   |     |  '---------, Nebr.\----| IL|IN|OH,' ~/~\,|`MD (DE)
',  \ Nev.|Utah| Colo. |~~~~~~~|    \  | ,'~~\WV/ VA |
 |Cal\    |    |       | Kansas| MO  \_-~ KY /`~___--\
 ',   \  ,-----|-------+-------'_____/__----~~/N Car./
  '_   '\|     |      |~~~|Okla.|    | Tenn._/-,~~-,/
    \    |Ariz.| New  |   |_    |Ark./~~|~~\    \,/S Car.
     ~~~-'     | Mex. |     `~~~\___|MS |AL | GA /
         '-,_  | _____|          |  /   | ,-'---~\
             `~'~  \    Texas    |LA`--,~~~~-~~,FL\
                    \/~\      /~~~`---`         |  \
                        \    /                   \  |
                         \  |                     '\'
                          `~'
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I don't see why ASCII Art should be unsuitable for Cartography. Art subjects can range: from the most common such as people and landscapes; to the outright ridiculous like a toilet or an unmade bed (that's Modern Art for ya!).

In terms of ASCII Art, maps can be drawn fairly accurately. Just depends on the resolution required and the amount of time allocated, although there are softwares which can do this within seconds. Take the following of the UK as an example:

         ..
        "$ber
        =3$$c.
  czd$$%   *$$c.
 .e$$$P  -ee$$$$..
 """     ^"*$$$$$C      
         "" "

Low resolution


                     .  .z
                eP   $$$$$
               3$   $$$$$
               e   .'$$$
                   $$$$" e .
               ^* 4$$$$$$$$$$$
                ^*%$$$$$$$$$$
                  e$$$$$$$$$$
                 =dP$$$$$$$$"
                 *Fz$$$$$$$"
                 " $$$$$$$$.
                   "$$$$$$
                **-""$$$$$$$c
                  d* 3$$$$$$$c
           ..$    "  $$$$$$$$$F
          $$$Ld$$   J$$$$$$$$$F
         e$$$$$$$r  $$$$FC$$$$$
          J$$$$$$e. %   4$$$$$$r
     $$..$$$$$$$$$      *$$$$$$$e
     $$$$$$$$$$$$"   P   $$$$$$$$b
     $$$$$$$$$$F          4$$$$$$$F
    $$$$$$$$$$$$          $$$$$$$$$
    ^$$$$$$$$$$$          $$$$$$$$c
      e$$$$$$$$$     $...4$$$$$$$$$b
      $$$$$$$$$$     .$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    -""C$$$$$$$$    z"$$$$$$$$$$$$$" $b.
    $$$$$$$$$$$%      4$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$F
   C$$$$$$$$$$$       $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$b
  *$$$$$$$$         .d$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$%
   *)$$$          .$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$"
   ^""             $"*$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$^
                       "$".$$$$$$$$$P*
                      .. 4$$$$$$$$$$$$dF
                    .z$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$P"
                    $$$$$$$$$$L**$*$""
                   d$$$P   ""
                 .$*""*"
                ""

High resolution

You can see more from here: http://www.chris.com/ascii/index.php?art=places/maps

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