Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Maps

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

Maps are endlessly fascinating.  I don't "waste" nearly enough time with them.  You may recall Ira Glass's This American Life episode, "Mapping."  What a celebration of curious maps and of their makers!

Each of Glass's five acts featured maps on one of the senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. I include this link to the radio archive which provides some details about each act.

I especially remember the map of the locations of all lighted Halloween pumpkins in Boylan Heights, Raleigh, NC made by Denis Woods.  This map and others, e.g., squirrel highways, were published in a book titled Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas.  It is currently out-of-print but a note at the site tells us that digital version is in preparation.  You will find some of Mr. Woods's maps at DIY cartography.

The introduction to Glass's program on maps introduces mapping through the work of some half-dozen sidewalk mappers.  Each year, this small group has mapped the sidewalks of all five boroughs of New York City, noting their bumps, hollows, craters, cracks!

A piece by Ana Swanson in the Washington Post really reminded me again of the wonders they provoke, questions they raise, thoughts they bring to mind, and alternatives to traditional ways of thinking about the world or parts of it they offer.

Parag Khanna has a new book Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization. You can take a peek inside here. Mr. Khanna is described as a global strategist.  I'm not exactly sure what that means but one thing I am very glad of is that this one is a talented and stimulating cartographer.

This essay includes a discussion with Parag Khanna as well as six stunning maps: the world's megacities, the United City-States of America (there I find Minnesota at the edge of the Great Plains), a map showing the increasing integration of the North American continent, the world 4 degrees C warmer (~ 7 degrees F warmer), Arctic shipping lanes, and Eurasia's "new Silk Roads."

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