Making of Flagthousand: The World’s Biggest Flag Map

Published

New:Pre-order the huge print, shipping Summer 2024.

A lifetime ago, I started making the Flagthousand: The World’s Largest Flag Map. This project combined two things I love: geography, and flags, into the biggest map of flags ever created.

When I started, I had a few goals:

  1. To print a giant poster so I could see all the flags at once.
  2. To make an online version that anyone can access for free.
  3. To commit to memory all the nation’s flags and locations.

Well, today I feel like I’ve succeeded at goal one and two! I’ve relaunched this flag map online, and started printing it as a poster. There’s still a lot to memorize. I don’t know if I’ll ever commit them all to memory, but I’m trying!

Pre-Order: Flagthousand

This is a massive 48″ x 32″ print on a premium matte paper, limited run, shipping Summer 2024. And more flags will get added before shipping. See the changelog for what additional changes will be on the final version.

Free Shipping for US! (currently only shipping to United States)


Learning about Flags & Geography

One of the best things about making something like this, is all the things you learn along the way. Neat facts:

  • Greenland is not a nation! It is a territory owned by Denmark. This means that Greenlanders are citizens of the Europeon Union!
  • Sometimes subnational flags are indications of language and allegiences. For instance, in Myanmar there’s a state called “Kayin” whose flag has the same colors as neighboring Thailand. You see this kind of thing a lot as you zoom into the flag.

Making Flagthousand

This started out around 2010, and it was then I began putting it online as a digital zoomable map showing all the nation’s flags.

At first it was running on Daniel Gasienca’s OpenZoom project. When OpenZoom deprecated, I put it on the back burner, but now its back! Flagthousand currently runs on OpenSeaDragon.

Zoom in all the flags in detail at Flagthousand.com

When I started the project, I only charted the flags for each nation. As I began to get closer to finishing the flag map, I noticed that many countries have state and province flags. I was curious what I might find if I added all of these regional flags, so I began adding individual state flags, starting with the United States.

Doing so was a huge discovery! Many of the southern U.S. “red” states have a lot of red in their flags. And many of the northern “blue” states have a lot of blue in their flags. Coincidence? Probably.

Or what about the stylish graphic nature of Japanese provincial flags, or the earth tones of African flags? Also you can go further: the European influence on the United States’ east coast.

Love of Flags & Maps

A flag is like a portrait of a place. They distill a region down to its simplest (usually) form. Putting them all together on a map extracts and opens the region back up to discovery.

I could write a lot about Flags and Maps. Its also part of a larger patchwork of its region. Nations put up these borders, but there is a kind of unity across the borders that shows with a flag.

Equador, Columbia, Venezuela flags, history here.

I also have to wonder if flags have a subconscious influence. Like if you grow up in America, red and blue are the definitive colors in so many ways. For instance, pink (light red) for girls, and blue for boys. Or another: red states and blue states: patriotism. And this makes me wonder: what’s it like for someone growing up where the colors are green and yellow?

How Flagthousand Was Made

Flagthousand runs on OpenSeaDragon and a DZI (Deep Zoom Image). I opted to go this route so that I could optimize my images with ImageOptim. I made a post walking through how to make zoomable images.

Another option, run by my old friend Daniel Gasienca, is ZoomHub, which is a hosted solution to convert your images using some of the same technologies. So if you have a huge image, that’s a great place to quickly get it up and running as a huge zoomable web file.

Flagthousand Changes:

Upcoming / Goals for Flagthousand:

  • Plan to add all provincial flags to the map — there are many more to go.
  • Plan to add more city and regional / tribal / indigenous flags. There’s a lot of them, and I’m not sure exactly how I want to do it yet. The United States alone has hundreds. Some very nice designs from here too.
  • Also looking for community feedback on any other flags to add!

Changelog:

  • 2024.06.20
    • Changed the aspect ratio to A0 size for printing, squeezed some countries to make it fit better. Downside of this is that it is less accurate but the upside is more legibility of the smaller regional flags.
    • Fixed Nepal’s Flag Border
    • Put an arrow from Norway to Svalbard
    • Added Norway’s County Flags
    • Added Myanmar’s States & Regions
    • Added Kyrgyzstan State Flags
    • Added Malaysia’s State Flags
    • Fixed Greenland’s title (it’s part of Denmark).
  • 2024.06.12
    • Fixed England’s flag
    • Added Transnistria, South Ossetia, Adjara, other Breakout States
    • Updated India’s contested border
    • Replaced Afghanistan’s Taliban Flag :/
    • Added Mexico state flags
    • Added Columbia state flags
    • Added Ecuador state Flags
    • Added Peru department flags
    • Added Isle of Mann (UK),
    • Added Kurdistan (Iraq),
    • Added Jerusalem Flag (Israel)
  • 2024.05.20
    • Added Columbia Regional Flags
    • Added all of the Russian Oblasts & Federations
  • 2024.05.14
    • Fixed New Mexico (was called Santa Fe)
    • Fixed Honduras Color (In September 2018, an MP proposed to change the color of the flag to Maya blue, and this went into effect in 2022).
  • 2024.05.14
    • Added Northern Ireland by popular request
    • Added Wales
    • Added Australia subdivisions

FAQs

Why isn’t my favorite flag on the map?

I’m still adding flags, so if you see a flag that’s missing, feel free to leave a comment below or email me at tex@texjernigan.com

Why did you add Northern Ireland (Ulster Flag) to the map?

Yes, I know its not an official flag. Some folks requested it, so I added it. I’m an American so I don’t know if this flag is offensive to anyone, so let me know if it is and I’ll remove it.

Where can I buy a map of all of the world’s flags?

You can pre-order it right here!

Credits:


Flagthousand.com runs on OpenSeaDragon and a DZI (Deep Zoom Image). I opted to go this route so that I could optimize my images with ImageOptim.

Flags are pulled from Wikipedia/Commons. Thanks to the many contributors who have maintained and upgraded the quality of these flags:
Gemeinde Baucau, Eslam, Arz, Drork, Municipality of Tel Aviv Yafo, Nightstallion, Goran tek-en, SKopp, Sadik Kaceli, Dalakop, RHaworth, Thespoondragon, Flagvisioner, Nourerrahmane, Nadie4ever, Odder, Mirlan Junusaliev, E. Sakeev, Anomie, Gabbe, Madden, Dbenbenn, Caleb Moore, Denelson83, Zscout370, Government of Bahamas, MSGJ, Sebastian Koppehel, HapHaxion, Government of Estonia, PeepP, Open Clip Art, President of the Republic of Ecuador, Vzb83, Zirland, -xfi-, Elephantus, Neoneo13, Rainman, R-41, Minestrone, Lupo, Shizhao, Comoros, Xaosflux, E Pluribus Anthony, Mzajac, Illegitimate Barrister, ទេព_សុវិចិត្រ, Cradel, Ningyou, MapGrid,Zscout370, Oʻzbekiston Respublikasining Davlat, Jdx, Ahonc, Tobias, Government of Tuvalu, David Benbennick, Mike Rohsopht, CemDemirkartal, Marc Mongenet, Mr. Stradivarius, Sri Lanka, Topbanana, Achim1999, Frederick Brownell, Government of Singapore, Vxb83, Guanaco, Sarang, AdiJapan, Vítor Luís Rodrigues, António Martins-Tuválkin, Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, Pppery, Republic of Peru, Republica del Paraguay, Orionist, Makaristos, Mysid, Gutten på Hemsen, Jon Harald Søby, Philippe Verdy, C Records, Albert Hastings Markham, Hugh Jass, Pumbaa80, Skimel, B1mbo, Froztbyte, Great Brightstar, Nameneko, Alex Covarrubias, Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, Mnmazur, Government of Liberia, Aris Odi, FDRMRZUSA, Shakiev N.T., Primov U.B., Ksiom, Hanzlan, Éire, Bastique, Technion, Wester, SiBr4, Magasjukur2, Árni Dagur, COAmaker17, Lokal_Profil, Myriam Thyes, K21edgo, Fibonacci, Republic of Ghana

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