The whole point of maps is to help you find your way. That's why, layered atop an aerial picture of a place, they also contain useful information like cardinal directions, street names and some measure to give the lost and befuddled viewer a sense of scale.
But not all who wander are lost, and the folks at Cut Maps have stumbled onto a whole new way to look at cartographs: as decorative art without the cheater's crutches of place names and reference guides.
For $150, most of the available street maps can be had in an 18-by-24-inch size cut from ethylene-vinyl acetate foam and mounted. For $400, the image is expanded to 34-by-46 inches and laser etched from one-fourth-inch walnut plywood and framed. Looking to spend a little less cash? A 5-by-7-inch stainless steel table map will only set you back $30.
Voila! Cities from Seattle to Lisbon, Portugal, are rendered in minimalist black and white, ready for mounting on a prominent patch of wall space.