A Map of the Floating City is the fifth studio album by English musician Thomas Dolby, released on 24 October 2011. It is his first full-length studio album since 1992's Astronauts & Heretics.
The album's concept, set in an alternate history, is accompanied by a web-based social networking game designed with the help of Andrea Phillips and J. J. Abrams. The game ran from June to September 2011, and the group that won the game received a private Dolby concert.
The album was recorded "aboard a solar and wind-powered 1930s lifeboat" on the coast of East Anglia, and includes contributions by Mark Knopfler, Regina Spektor, Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Woolley, Ethel and Imogen Heap.
Many tracks from the album were released/premiered prior to the release of the complete album:
"Love Is a Loaded Pistol" was premiered at the TED conference in Long Beach, CA in February 2010, and was later released as a free MP3 download.
"Road To Reno", "The Toad Lickers", and "17 Hills" were released as a digital EP, Amerikana, that was sold on Dolby's website in June 2010.
"Oceanea", "Simone", and "To The Lifeboats" were released as another digital EP, Oceanea, in November 2010, and as a physical disc in March 2011
Three tracks were performed live for WNYC Soundcheck in February 2011 with the help of New York string quartet Ethel and accordion player Rachelle Garniez.
"Nothing New Under The Sun", "Spice Train", "Evil Twin Brother", and "A Jealous Thing Called Love" were revealed within the online game "A Map of The Floating City" in July and August 2011. Prior to the inception of the game, Dolby had planned to release these songs as a third EP, Urbanoia.