Cartographers produce unique tourist map filled with legends

A hand-drawn map featuring Shanxi's tourist attractions was recently released in Taiyuan by the Shanxi Institute of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation, and the local Shanxi Evening News paper.

Li Zhiqing, senior engineer and chief of creativity at the institute, said the map's designers used both hand-drawn and digital techniques to present Shanxi's major attractions.

The map, which can be folded into an A3-sized sheet, includes 42 renowned tourism destinations of the province.

"Unlike conventional maps, mostly composed of geographic elements, the hand-drawn map shows the local history, landscape, ecology, legends, folklore and other cultural ingredients to appeal to tourists," Li said.

"It's impossible for the map to include all the attractions in Shanxi so we have chosen 42 representative sites classified into three categories," Li said. He added that the three categories highlight attractions related to the Great Wall, the Yellow River and the Taihang Mountains, supplemented by other landmarks in different cities.

"We have put a smaller map on the top left of the bigger one, which shows the major sites along the Great Wall and the Yellow River and in the Taihang Mountains, as well as Shanxi's three UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites," Li said. He added that such a design aims to direct first-time visitors to Shanxi's top attractions, saving them time and energy in trip planning.

"For more detailed information on other sites not included in the three categories, readers can still refer to the big map," Li said.

Zhao Kang, president of the Shanxi Institute of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation, said the map also includes Shanxi's famed tourism products like hand-polished lacquerware of Pingyao city, chengni ink slab of Xinjiang county and fahua cloisonne porcelain in Gaoping county.

The region's legends, such as Houyi who shot multiple suns; the mythical bird of Jingwei who tried to fill up the sea with stones and branches; and Dayu, who curbed the flood of the Yellow River, are also included in the map, according to Zhao.

"Featuring all the iconic tourism and cultural resources in Shanxi, the map can offer great help to tourists," Zhao said.

Li Yali contributed to this story.