Thursday, October 11, 2007

I've Always Loved Maps

This is one I made for my story of the Titanic Two. It's a story that's more or less lost now, because it depended on Javascript engines created by someone in the Netherlands who's vanished. You can see Rebozo in the center carrying the cocktails. Each icon represented a different story. The art was all gifs, because those had transparent backgrounds, whereas jpegs are solid. Gifs also have hideous outlines, with a rat chewed black line.

I do love maps. If I'm in a car and don't have anything to read, (and am not the driver) I can sit and look at a map of anything for long stretches, then forget it all. Although Mapquest and gps make it easier for everyone not to get lost, they don't give you that wonderful sense of physical space. And if any step goes wrong with Mapquest, you're toast.

I've always felt mapmaking is one of the unrecognized bright spots of civilization, where you can think of all the different people all down through the years who contributed their part to make sense of space. Imagine those folks who locked things down in the U.S. with the U.S.G.S. maps... That must have been an adventure.

Anyway, imagine my thrill last night when I installed a map on this blog to see where visitors were coming from, and spotted someone in TASMANIA! Also I thought only about four friends ever showed up here.


Namowal said...

What do you think of Google Earth? I can scoot around there for hours. Paper maps are interesting too. I've been known to look at my Thomas Guide for fun- just to see where familiar streets end up as I follow them. Another time I took an areal map with me on an airplane trip so I could anticipate and identify the landmarks below. Old maps are fun, if you can find them. It's like a time machine. You can see where roads used to end, and where trains used to run.

Katy said...

You know Elizabeth Bishop's poem The Map....last line: More delicate than the historians' are the map-makers' colors. And there's the saying "Don't mistake the map for the territory" that I think should be emblazoned on all newsstands.

sally g said...

Your map is wonderful. I love the idea of fun maps made by artists - and also game boards.

Sally said...

Google Earth is so wonderful that it overwhelms me. I think it's wondrous. Also the end of privacy as we used to think of it. I can even see my chicken's aviary on google earth. I've done the Thomas Guide for fun thing too. namowal, we think alike! I always get out the airplane maps and regret they don't pu landmarks on them. Haven't spent much time with old maps.

In grammar school coloring in maps, and copying them, was a big part of what we did. I noticed Dinah didn't have to do that at all. Katy, the Elizabeth Bishop line got me thinking about that.

Sally G, it drives me nuts that I can't access the individual stories that each one of the icons on that map represents.

Namowal said...

Speaking of Google Earth, here's a link to some weird things you can find there:,134186-page,1-c,mapping/article.html

linda said...

I was born without a sense of direction. I don't find maps entertaining at all; I find them crucial to my survival. (Though yours is very nice. And I can't believe the stories are lost! Tragedy!) I went to a bookreading downtown last night and in order to get there I had to study a map, go over directions with Tom, and write them down in magic marker on a big piece of paper to keep on the seat beside me. At every red light I had to consult the map again. Then after the reading, when I got back in the car, I had to study the map for 10 minutes to try to figure out how to get home. I turned the map this way and that in vain. Finally I gave up and eventually did make it home OK, but by that time Tom was asleep.

So I've always hated maps because I can't understand them; but favorite map book is by Sara Fanelli. It's called My Map Book and includes a map of her dog and a map of her bedroom and one of her stomach.

Sally said...

It's funny how vastly different people feel about maps. Actually most people I know dislike them very much and find anything that doesn't go step by step useless. Especially creative people. But I have one wonderful friend from long ago art school, Warner Wada, who has a true absolute sense of north. There's an official word for that, but I've forgotten it.

Namowal, I enjoyed looking at those google specialty pics. it must be quite amazing to really come upon one while scooting around google earth. Where we are now in Colorado the image is very low definition from far off.

Katy said...

And don't you love Jasper Johns' maps? Well, maybe you don't but I sure do. Get plumb lost in 'em. Good lost.