If all the polar ice in the world were to melt tomorrow would you be on waterfront property or swimming with the fishes?
That is the question Jeffrey Linn, a speculative cartographer has indirectly answered by creating a map of Vancouver showing what the city would look like if sea levels were to rise by 66 meters. On Linn’s website, he explains the sea levels depicted are based on statistics from the International Panel on Climate Change and his maps show the very endpoint of sea rise. While the levels shown in his Waterworld-esque maps are not going to happen within our lifetimes, even a fraction of what the maps show could spell disaster.
“Millions of people are at risk of starvation from droughts and crop failures that will occur soon–long before the seas rise to the point shown in these maps,” Linn writes. “The dangers the world faces are real and happening now. I create these maps out of a sense of fascination with what the world will be long after I’m gone, and to share my fascination, along with a dose of cheesy humour.”
That “cheesy humour” is on full display in the Vancouver map which renames many neighbourhoods to be more appropriate for their new coastal settings. The West End becomes the now submerged “Wet End”, the spit of land that remains of Stanley Park becomes “Stanley Island” and the completely submerged downtown core becomes “Condo Reef.”
With a BA in Geography and a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture, Linn’s work has been featured in the Washington Post and verified by Snopes. Linn creates the maps using publicly sourced data and other mapping techniques created by fellow mapping enthusiasts.
A print of the Vancouver Sea Level Rise Map is available for purchase on Linn's website for $25–$30.