This is a thread on a concept for a new park map for the 2014 season. I was actually expecting a complete overhaul in 2013 after they went balls out with the new branding, but that obviously didn't happen. Nonetheless, the new advertising gives them a great opportunity to redo the map as well. I'm going to focus on three points that I'd like to see the park map advance in: art, accuracy, and text.
First, the artwork on the map. I really like the pastel color palette and art style of the 1987 and 1989 maps. It gives the park a vibrant, inviting feel that I think is lacking in the current version. This approach would be a good balance between the all-out cartoon look of the early 2000s [Link] and the more detailed graphics they are going for now. The rich colors as seen in those older maps would be very fitting for a park that's known for landscaping and gardens as opposed to a huge amount of rides. It would also be a great look for Christmas Town, and an option for HOS would be simply darkening the colors.
Second, it's evident that the precision of the current map is quite flawed. If you've ever seen the park on Google Maps, you know the map is a far cry from real life. I'd incorporate a more realistic, direct-overhead view on the park based on satellite images, as opposed to the angled, bird's eye view they opted for recently. It would be as simple as obtaining satellite images of the park during the winter and then drawing over it in the program of their choice. This would make the proportions on the map accurate, and thus easier to judge distance. After the overhead view is included, it would follow that pathways would be much more easily discernible. This is the major flaw of the current map; some path sections are obscured by graphics or labels because of its angled view. Knowing how to navigate the park is the main function of the map; to make them definite, all surfaces one can walk on (including bridges) should be one consistent color.
Third, the text and labels. I would reorganize the hamlets/countries on the park maps. I think the maps should feature three categories: countries, hamlets within countries, and geographical or colloquial terms for sections in hamlets. As an example, we have Germany, which contains Oktoberfest and Rhinefeld. It also has a third division, Land of the Dragons, which would be labeled separately. Other "third divisions" I can think of are Da Vinci's Garden within San Marco and Forest of Fun in Banbury. As far as the Wild Reserve discrepancy, I think it should be it's own hamlet, but under the umbrella of Ireland, kind of like Festa under Italy. See this diagram: