Rand McNally CityFlash Maps

Digital Illustration, Map Illustration, Product Illustration, Vector Illustration

As the recognized premier global map company, Rand McNally was exploring the possible transition from traditional cartography techniques to digital map production in the late 1980s. A new product line called “CityFlash” maps were to be their first test map products (in partnership with Hallwag in Germany) produced entirely on standard desktop computers using standard commercial illustration software.


Randal Birkey produced 5 CityFlash maps using Adobe Illustrator and Aldus Freehand on Apple Macintosh computers. The cities included:

  • Chicago
  • Washington DC
  • San Francisco
  • New York
  • Boston

Rand McNally provided Randal with reference maps which were used as base maps. Randal developed the color palettes, line weights and various cartographic symbols based upon the existing Hallwag CityFlash maps. The resulting Postscript™ map files were delivered to Rand McNally and used for four-color direct output to high-resolution film, and printing plates, used to 4-color offset print the final map products. The Rand McNally CityFlash map product line is still available today in map and book stores.

Chicago CityFlash Street Map
Boston Area Map