The Scenic Route

A popular map series will show you around town, eco style

| September / October 2005

Over the last 10 years, the Green Map System has been doing for eco-conscious explorers what the Rand McNally atlas did for American drivers. From Miami Beach to Beijing, green maps now provide travelers with a guide to earth-friendly resources in cities around the world. They're also great tools for awakening people to green urban projects closer to home.

The concept was born in 1992, when founding director Wendy Brawer and her company Modern World Design published the 'Green Apple Map' of New York. The map highlighted the city's ecologically important sites and sparked interest among those who wanted to draw similar maps of their own communities.

Brawer launched the wider Green Map System in 1995. Using the Internet, she and others designed a set of icons that soon became a standard for other mapmakers around the globe. A decade later, 208 maps have been published and more than 60 are available online. Recently mapped cities include Bangalore, Paris, Stockholm, Warsaw, and Wacarpay, Peru. Each map has a distinct local flavor while sharing the same icons for bike paths, natural food stores, solar power, farmers' markets, special trees, and other such resources. The maps also denote polluted sites, landfills, and hazardous waste facilities.

For more information on making a green map for your community, go to