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Archive for the ‘01 What’s A Map?’ Category

Concerns about the failing nuclear reactors in Japan and the fear of spreading radiation inspired me to share one of my favorite maps. The map shows areas in the United States crossed by two or more radioactive clouds during the era of nuclear testing (1951-1962) in the American Southwest. Click on the map for a larger version.

Richard Miller painstakingly created his map showing where humans, animals, and the environment were contaminated by radioactive fallout, broadly dispersed by weather patterns.

A sublime map, both beautiful and terrifying.

The map is also reproduced in my forthcoming book, Making Maps, 2nd Edition (due any day now).

Source: Richard Miller, “Areas crossed by two or more radioactive clouds during the era of nuclear testing in the American Southwest, 1951-62” in Under the Cloud: The Decades of Nuclear Testing (Two-Sixty Press, 1999), between chapters 4 and 5.

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When I compiled a previous post entitled “A Discourse on Map Pins and Pinnage,” largely based on Willard C. Brinton’s Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts (1914) I rather forgot that Brinton had another tome, published in 1939, entitled Graphic Presentation.

Among the pages of this latter book can be found a few items worthy of note: J. Edgar Hoover pinning a map of FBI personnel (above), and another image of a map being pinned in the wild (most popular automobile colors, by U.S. state, 1939):

Also, a fine selection of map pins, updated for the demands of map pinners in 1939:

A few other stray map pin items have also come to my attention.

An advertisement in The American City (11, 1914) suggesting pinned maps EVERY city should construct:

Or one from System: The Magazine of Business (33, 1918):

Or a bit of advice on using pinned “progress maps” in oil field work (Underground Conditions in Oil Fields, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1920):

In Select Notes: A Commentary on the International Lessons for 1893 the Rev. Peloubet recalls the use of map pins for Bible study in the novel Tom Brown at Oxford:

Run out of map pins? Your local dealer is all out due to war-time demands? Popular Mechanics (March 1945) has instructions for DIY map pins:

Enough on map pins already.

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Denis Wood’s Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas

Now shipping from Siglio Press

Use discount code PUMPKIN for 20% off until November 12, 2010

Three maps from Everything Sings are below

Sidewalk Graffiti | Wind Chimes | Radio Waves

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Sidewalk Graffiti (detail)

Scratched, scrawled, or stamped into drying concrete—mostly from the 60s into the 80s—is a fragmentary and tragically conventional body of folklore.

Sidewalk Graffiti (click to enlarge)

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Wind Chimes (detail)

When we did the house types survey, we also paid attention to the presence of wind chimes. They were all over—bamboo, glass, shell, metal tubes. Depending on where you stood, the force of the wind, and the time of day, you could hear several chiming, turning the neighborhood into a carillon.

Wind Chimes (click to enlarge)

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Radio Waves (detail)

Unlike the wave fronts of wind chimes which—requiring a lot of energy to move the air molecules—never get very large, radio waves don’t propagate in air. They propagate in space and travel undisturbed through non-metallic objects like house walls and bodies. Depending on the location of the transmitter, their wave fronts can be enormous, yet they pass through the neighborhood silently, unfelt, and unnoticed, unless tuned into. In the mid-1980s, Boylan Heights listened mostly to a mix of Top 40, Oldies, Country, R&B, and talk radio on six radio stations: WDGC transmitting from Pittsboro, WFXC from Durham, WQDR from Apex, WRDU in Middlesex, WRAL and WPTF from Auburn. As the neighborhood has changed, so have the radio stations it listens to. Today, it’s mostly NPR broadcast by WUNC in Chapel Hill.


In the key, Boylan Heights is the point of tangency of these six fronts of radio waves. On the map, you can see which waves belong to which stations by their shape and direction. Because radio waves are concave to their point of origin, a wave concave to the lower right (southeast) is coming from Auburn, and one concave to the upper left (northwest) is from Durham. The degree of curvature depends on the size of the wave front and its distance from the source: the straighter the line, the farther away the transmitter. (Sensible curvature decreases with size which is why the earth seems flat.) These wave fronts, ever expanding, make different patterns in other places.

Radio waves also come from the stars. Their wave fronts are effectively flat and they come from every direction, silently, unfelt, and unnoticed.

Radio Waves (click to enlarge)

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That a cartographer  could set out on a mission that’s so emotional, so personal, so idiosyncratic, was news to me.    

—Ira Glass, host of This American Life



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Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas by Denis Wood with an introduction by Ira Glass. Pub date: Nov. 12.
$28  .  Paper  .  112 pages  .  85 black and white illustrations, including more than 50 maps  .  ISBN: 978-0-9799562-4-9

Preorder

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These maps remind me of all the radio stories I love most. After all, most radio is a boring salaryman, waking up before you and me to announce the headlines or play the hits to some predetermined demographic. Yet some radio stories elbow their way into the world in defiance of that unrelentingly practical mission, with the same goal Denis Wood’s maps have: to take a form that’s not intended for feeling or mystery and make it breathe with human life. —Ira Glass, host of This American Life

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From the Publisher:
Denis Wood has created an atlas unlike any other. Surveying Boylan Heights, his small neighborhood in North Carolina, he subverts the traditional notions of mapmaking to discover new ways of seeing both this place in particular and the nature of place itself. Each map attunes the eye to the invisible, the overlooked, and the seemingly insignificant. From radio waves permeating the air to the location of Halloween pumpkins on porches, Wood searches for the revelatory details in what has never been mapped or may not even be mappable. In his pursuit of a “poetics of cartography,” the experience of place is primary, useless knowledge is exalted, and representation strives toward resonance. Our perception of maps and how to read them changes as we regard their beauty, marvel at their poetry, and begin to see the neighborhoods we live in anew. Everything Sings weaves a multi-layered story about one neighborhood as well as about the endeavor of truly knowing the places which we call home.


See the Siglio Press Facebook page with seven of the Atlas maps.


The Press Release for Everything Sings.

See the previous post (on the Making Maps blog): Denis Wood: A Narrative Atlas of Boylan Heights



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Denis Wood’s followup to his classic The Power of Maps (1992) is almost entirely new in content.  I have included the book’s table of contents below. A PDF copy of chapter 1 is included. This chapter argues, provocatively, “there were no maps before 1500” – a serious challenge to our assumptions about the map as a human and historical universal.

I. Mapping

1. Maps Blossom in the Springtime of the State (PDF)

2. Unleashing the Power of the Map

3. Signs in the Service of the State

4. Making Signs Talk to Each Other

II. Counter-Mapping

5. Counter-Mapping and the Death of Cartography

6. Talking Back to the Map

7. Map Art: Stripping the Mask from the Map

8. Mapmaking, Counter-Mapping, and Map Art in the Mapping of Palestine

Buy a copy of the book here…

From the publisher: “Denis Wood shows how maps are not impartial reference objects, but rather instruments of communication, persuasion, and power. By connecting us to a reality that could not exist in the absence of maps – a world of property lines and voting rights, taxation districts and enterprise zones – they embody and project the interests of their creators.”

Nicholas Chrisman, Department of Geomatic Sciences, Université Laval, says: “Rethinking the Power of Maps sharpens the argument of Wood’s earlier work and focuses its attention on the construction of power. Every student of cartography should take notice.”
Chris Perkins of the University of Manchester says: “In an age when mapping is sexy again Wood explains why it should matter to everyone, explores how maps came to be deployed by states, and how the authority of the image is now being used by many different voices. This is a carefully developed humanist argument for a critical approach to mapping, strongly academic, but reassuringly accessible. Denis Wood’s work always challenges – the passionate style and panache of his scholarship carries the reader along and persuades us to listen to his original ideas.”

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rethinking_cover

Lukewarm off the presses, a tome chock full of lofty thoughts on maps and mapping. The blurb about Rethinking Maps, edited by Martin Dodge, Rob Kitchin, and Chris Perkins (Routledge 2009), sez:

Maps are changing. They have become important and fashionable once more. Rethinking Maps brings together leading researchers to explore how maps are being rethought, made and used, and what these changes mean for working cartographers, applied mapping research, and cartographic scholarship. It offers a contemporary assessment of the diverse forms that mapping now takes and, drawing upon a number of theoretic perspectives and disciplines, provides an insightful commentary on new ontological and epistemological thinking with respect to cartography.

A useful overview of what typically gets called “critical cartography,” with a few other voices of reason mixed in.

Denis Wood and I contributed a chapter, a comic with plentiful notes (for those who can’t figure out the pictures). I linked our chapter below, but it works much better as a printed comic.  I have about 10 paper copies, and can mail them to the first 10 people that email me (jbkrygier@owu.edu). Include a mailing address!

Debates rage, and tussles erupt, over the question…

kupperman2

Serious enough, I guess, to be included in a tome of high academic scribblings.

The editors have made the introductory and concluding chapters available as PDFs. Those too are linked below.

The book is expensive ($129.95!) and sales will mostly be to libraries. Check a copy out of your favorite library (or ask for it via inter-library loan) or email the author of a chapter you are interested in and ask if they are willing to share a copy.

Chapters in Rethinking Maps include:

1. Thinking about Maps (360k PDF) (Rob Kitchin, Chris Perkins and Martin Dodge)

2. Rethinking Maps and Identity: Choropleths, Clines and Biopolitics (Jeremy W. Crampton)

3. Rethinking Maps from a more-than-human Perspective: Nature-society, Mapping, and Conservation Territories (Leila Harris and Helen Hazen)

4. Web mapping 2.0 (Georg Gartner)

5. Modelling the Earth: A Short History (Michael F. Goodchild)

6. Theirwork: the Development of Sustainable Mapping (Dominica Williamson and Emmet Connolly)

7. Cartographic Representation and the Construction of Lived Worlds: Understanding Cartographic Practice as Embodied Knowledge (Amy Propen)

8. The 39 Steps and the Mental Map of Classical Cinema (Tom Conley)

9. The Emotional Life of Maps and Other Visual Geographies (Jim Craine and Stuart Aitken)

10. Playing with Maps (Chris Perkins)

11. Ce n’est pas le Monde [This is not the world] (2mb PDF) (John Krygier and Denis Wood)

Here is an easier to read PDF version of Ce N’est Pas le Monde.

12. Mapping Modes, Methods and Moments: A Manifesto for Map Studies (556k PDF) (Martin Dodge, Chris Perkins and Rob Kitchin)

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owjl-finalmap_low

Guide Psychogéographique de OWU (2009, med res jpg)

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During the week of June 15-19 (2009) five intrepid Ohio students and myself engaged in improvisational psychogeography, culminating in the map opening this post. A printable 11″ x 17″ (300dpi 1.4mb) PDF of the map is here.

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Picture 1

Map detail: The path taken through campus followed the outline of a wolfie hand-shadow cast on a campus map.

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Picture 2

Map detail: Stuff smelt, heard, and felt with its allure or disallure indicated with faces.

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The map was the product of a course – Mapping Weird Stuff – I offered at the OWjL (Ohio Wesleyan University Junior League of Columbus) summer camp for gifted and talented middle school students.

Based on the kid’s ideas and work collecting diverse data, I designed a layout and look for the map. The map itself was created in FreehandMX, now dead-tech thanks to Adobe (I still prefer Freehand even though I started with Illustrator back at version 1).

Making the map once again reminded me that it’s fun to make maps, if you have interesting stuff to map. The design and layout are certainly nothing one could generate with typical mapping software – thus the use of graphic illustration software. Diverse and interesting maps are not really the domain of web and pc-based map generation software. Maybe sometimes. Not usually.

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Picture 3

Map detail: An abstracted linear “map” sequencing smells, textures, and sounds from one end to the other of the path investigated.

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My vague intent was to do some kind of weird mapping project on campus – sensory mapping, psychogeography, etc. My search for resources for this age student (grades 6-8) resulted in a few finds, but not much. The materials I compiled on the course blog (here) served as the basis of our work, which developed as the students engaged the ideas. We met for 1.5 hours a day, for 5 days.

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kids

Special glasses indicate how serious we were about this project.
The
Hulk hand inspired confidence in our powers.

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The students, Django, Mallory, McKenna, Erica, and Ben, were great. They jumped into the project, came up with ideas that shaped our direction, and collected all of the data on the map. I had some ideas about what kind of psychogeography we would do, and what kind of map we would create, then it all transmogrified into something else which turned out great.

We did a dérive (“a technique of transient passage through varied ambiances”) to get a feel for the campus and its “resonances,” some blind-folded, ear-plugged tours through the campus (with me or one of the students leading the others along) collecting smells and sounds, as well as a few texture collection expeditions (inspired, in part, by Denis Wood’s Narrative Atlas of Boylan Heights project).

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Guiding much of our work was a single, inspiring Hulk hand.

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A bit of background on Psychogeography:

Psychogeography, according to its founder Guy Debord, is “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.”

In practice, psychogeography inherently resists any narrow definitions. It encompasses diverse activities that raise awareness of the natural and cultural environment, is attentive to senses and emotions as they relate to place and environment, is often political and critical of the status quo, and must be both very serious and fun.

Psychogeography overlaps with Kevin Lynch’s work on mental maps, as nicely reviewed in Denis Wood’s article “Lynch Debord” as well as work on non-visual sensory-scapes (smellscape, soundscape, touchscape, tastescape, etc.).

The most famous psychogeography map is Debord’s Guide Pychogéographique de Paris:

debord-guide

Guy Debord, Guide Pychogéographique de Paris

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grassyfoot

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bomb

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