We love globes, but we despise reading them. All those extraneous symbols and endless topographic lines that could easily be confused with countries — if not for Where in the World Is Carmen San Diego, we’d probably go on thinking Dar es Salaam is an island in Norway.

The global maps shown here are a promising antidote. Created by Chicago designer Nancy McCabe, they strip down the geography of the world to virtually nothing but words. Focus on a single continent and you can scan its vast array of nations, cities, and seas without the usual surfeit of visual interference. Blind grids shows latitude and longitude, keeping the whole thing from feeling too obscure and unmap-like.

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