Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A quick note on the beauty of the map

small piece of a map of "Writing London": A Literary
Guide to the Usual and Unusual
I think that I am late to the map-adulation party--but thankfully, I have indeed arrived! As you're thinking about items that you might make to include in the vending machine, let me go ahead and make a plug for one of the unsung, yet awesome, components of informational and artistic expression--the map!

I used to think maps were merely simplistic (albeit at times elegant) means of conveying information. Oh, but not so, not so! Thanks in part to happenstance, in part to curiosity-stoked investigations, I've discovered an immense world of playfulness, artistry, cheekiness, and oddity. Below, a few of my internet favorites that you might peruse to spark your own creativity:

  • It would be remiss not to mention Frank Jacobs and his astonishing web collection Strange Maps. You could get lost here for days, reading up on all the oddities he's found.
  • If, however, that massive compendium is too much to handle at first, consider wading in via The Guardian's very distilled, yet still fascinating, top-ten list from the site.
  • Are you a lover of science? Check out Places & Spaces: Mapping Science's year-by-year inventory of the coolest in new science visualizations.
  • Interested in maps of places that aren't real? Check out The Imaginary Atlas!
  • For those of you whose fictional place map tastes run urban, check out Urban Geofiction's collection of coolness.
  • As always, artists are intrigued with pushing the envelope. Check out these contemporary artists' reimaginings of maps.
  • The Hand Drawn Map Association has been compiling user-submitted hand drawn maps for years. Some are very low tech, others are decidedly not: all, however, are fascinating!
  • And, once again, if big archives are not your thing, The Guardian has chosen ten hand-drawn wonders to spotlight.
This list is, of course, very partial. Yet I hope it provides a way to start thinking about the very cool, artistic, political, social, and ideological work that maps can do.

This "character map" is a visualization
of a way to think through the complexity
of the fictional characters one creates
in creative writing endeavors. Plus--it
looks super cool!
Happy exploring!

Dr. Renzi

a small clip of a map of Spitalfields (a part of London)
which I bought a few years ago

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