Monday, December 31, 2007

French Kissing Map… Ooh-la-la

Now, before you get all excited, I’m not the kind of girl to kiss and tell, but I have always wondered how people determine exactly how many times to do that kiss-kiss thing when they see someone on the street.

Do I shake hands, hug, or give them the old smacker on the cheek?

Well, I can put my fear of over-pecking to rest because someone has finally decided to map…kisses.

Yes, if you are so inclined you can check out a map of France to see how many times you should smooch upon greeting—and get this it’s all dependent upon where you are in the country!

So the next time you find yourself faced with the question of exactly how many time to kiss someone, do what I do, and refer to your map, and you can be sure that you’re not the only one feeling a little awkward about the whole thing.

Do you have a silly smooching story or another funky map? - feel free to share!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Map History 101

We all know the story of the Aztec empire and Hernán Cortés from grade school history class: 19 year old goes exploring in 1519…winds up in Mexico…burns his ships…war with the natives…invades Tenochtitlan.

What you might not know is that a map of Tenochtitlan was created from the eyewitness account of Cortés and it is in the Maps: Finding Our Place in the World exhibit opening at the Walters Art Museum on March 16.

The map depicts the rich and magnificent capital of the Aztec empire –complete with a temple complex surrounded by an intricate network of streets and canals, before it was reduced to ruins by Cortés and his army.

Check out this video by Dr. Seymour I. Schwartz for a complete description of Cortés’ map.

Friday, December 21, 2007

X Marks the Spot

Ho ho ho. I will be off the map for about a week (fruitcake, gift wrap, egg nog… you know the drill) so visit me again here… oh, let’s say around January 2. I’m trying to figure out how I will map my holiday. I’ve been getting some inspiration from you all. Some of my favorites:

Jeff maps Elf visits to his house (I think that’s what it is).

The Komarnitsky family have their Christmas lights set up so that web surfers can control them – and they map from where they are controlled.

Check out the probability of having a white Christmas.

Watching Christmas movies – here is where they take place.

Enjoy the day. Enjoy the week. Enjoy the gifts. Enjoy your family. Enjoy

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More Baltimaps (or is it Baltomaps?)

I have heard for a while about Baltimore’s Citistat program, which uses “computer pin mapping: as an “accountability” tool” for city government. Martin O’Malley marched (get it?) the program into use when he was mayor of Baltimore. This and it is credited with helping our hard working municipal workers ;-) respond quickly to issues. Check out some of the neato CitiStat maps of your neighborhood. My favorite is the map of stump removal -- Who knew?!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Something’s in the Air

I heard about a meeting yesterday at the Walters Art Museum where lots of reps from local arts organizations heard about the Walters exhibition and talked about planning their OWN map activities for the Spring. Sounds cool. Could be neat. I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Princesses, Paupers, and Property Disputes?

There is something neat about maps that look like they have been ripped from the pages of a fairytale. They conjure up nice images – favorite stories heard in a cozy bed, faraway places, and visions of valiant princes and beautiful maidens.

At first I thought that this map was more of the same, but instead of illustrating a bedtime story, this Property Plan of Inclesmoor actually shows a 15th century quarrel between neighbors - the Duchy of Lancaster and Saint Mary’s Abbey.

It seems that in 1402, each claimed rights to this desirable 240 square-mile plot of pastureland and peat. The map, drawn around 1450, shows features described in an accompanying legal document, such as pastures (marked with the feathery plants) and towns (marked with red and brown squares).

For thousands of years, people have been marking their territory with maps. In fact, many of Europe’s earliest maps were the result of property disputes.

And here’s another fact: this original map will be in the Walters Art Museum exhibit Maps: Finding Our Place in the World.

Check out these links to see other cool antique maps:

Friday, December 7, 2007

Maps on Purpose

Art on Purpose, an organization that uses art to bring people together around issues and ideas, is partnering with multiple mostly at-risk Baltimore City neighborhoods to create community-made maps inspired by Maps: Finding Our Way in the World, at The Walters Art Museum. In a series of map-making workshops, residents will map such things as: neighborhood hidden treasures, the gap between the perception of safety and actual safety, gang territories, and other topics determined by a community-input process put in place by Art on Purpose and its neighborhood partners.

Mapping workshops are led by experienced community artists and include adult and youth from the neighborhoods. They will learn about the wide-ranging maps coming to The Walters’ exhibition, gather data about their own communities, and create artistic, hand-made maps modeled on one or more of the Walters’ maps, but conveying information they have elected to focus upon as a community.

In a series of exhibitions beginning in March at the Walters, events, and forums to follow, the maps will be used as the basis for neighborhood celebrations, networking events, advocacy, and other purposes to be determined once the maps are created. Maps on Purpose takes museum-quality maps and uses them as a catalyst for giving voice and exposure to those ordinarily disenfranchised from civic discourse.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

I’ve seen some wild and crazy maps before (like the map of Europe made out of clothes), but this 1884 Inuit Map tops my list.

At first glance, I thought it was just a neat wood carving, but it is actually a map of Greenland’s sinuous coastline. While in their kayaks in the darkness of the night, the Inuits traced the contours of this wood carving map to navigate. Points and angles in the carving correspond with the geography of the shore. The angle on the edge of the map relates to the steepness of the shoreline. When paddling south along the coast, a user would follow the right side of the carving from top to bottom; then switch to the left side reading from bottom to top.

You can see this map out for yourself beginning March 16 at the Walters Art Museum, as it will be part of the Maps: Finding Our Place in the World exhibit.

Monday, December 3, 2007

All Wrapped Up

It is now official: maps are everywhere – even on your holiday packages.

Here is the scoop: The Map Store at the United States Geological Survey and the California Geological Survey are both offering free wrapping paper – made from old maps! The free paper is great for the map obsessed, and it’s good for the environment too. Normally outdated topographical maps would go straight for the landfill, but with this program the maps get reused in a fun and festive way. They’re perfect for the holidays, with shades of green for forests and cities etched in red.

Wouldn’t it be cool to send your uncle Stew in California his present wrapped in a map of the seafloor rocks and sediments of the continental shelf of Monterey Bay?

Who knows – maybe someone will send you a fruit cake or an ugly holiday sweater wrapped in a map. At least you’ll get a map out of the deal!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Tip My Tiara to You Other Map Crazy Bloggers

Call me myopic. Naïve. Unsophisticated. Or just your every day, average Baltimoron who cares more than anything, first and foremost, over and above, about ME and where I live. Charm City. The Monumental City. The City That Reads. The Greatest City in America. And I want my blog to reflect ME. I’ve been trying to make my posts have some Baltimore connection. I figured that would be a little different.

But, I know that there is a bigger, blogger world out there. So here are a couple of blogs I like and regularly check out. Now YOU check ‘em out. And tell them all that Her Majesty of Maps sent ya. -- the main man! -- yeah, it’s a company and not a person but it’s way cool. -- some neat-o stuff. -- more words then images but interesting nonetheless -- hmmmm, thoughtful.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Baltimore is a Mappy Place!

I’m discovering that Baltimore is a hotbed of mapping resources. I go to check out some
little-known neighborhood – I get a map. I’m not talking about some yellow pages map showing pizza places (all bad!) or Chinese food delivery (always late!) within five blocks of my abode, or some googled satellite picture of someplace I’ve been. I mean neat, unique maps of interesting stuff. For instance, I go to check out some neighborhood I just heard of, and I get a map -- the city version has a lot more detail). I’m trying to figure out what city district I live in (yes, I am that kind of geek) – voila, a map (albeit, not a very specific one, although this is pretty cool for other information). A bunch of people have told me about this – plotting crime in the city (although I’m not sure that much of the crime was, indeed, plotted.) The Sun is also doing that with more detail. And while I was looking for subway and Light rail routes, I found just what every 21st century gal needs – a map of streetcar routes from 1895!

Yeah yeah yeah… I know there are lots of other cool local maps out there – interactive, documenting the weird and the bizarre. I’ve seen some but certainly not all. Tell me which ones you like. I’ll keep posting them here. There. Everywhere.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Show of Hands, Please?

After traveling over the river and through the woods for Thanksgiving, I was content to spend Black Friday on the couch. But, as luck would have it, I saw a picture in the Weekend Arts section of the New York Times that floored me.

It’s a picture of a map made on a glove…that’s right, a fashion accessory and a way-finding instrument all in one. It’s probably the missing link in how maps have taken over glove compartments all over the world…

Anyway, the map is actually very cool in that it’s a map of London that was created for the first modern world’s fair – the Great Exhibition – held in 1851. Festival organizers thought the out-of-towners coming to the fair would be of the glove-wearing middle and upper classes—and what better way to show them the rest of the city than putting it all in their hands?

You’ll be able to see the actual glove at the Walters this spring, but until then check out these other apparel-related map links.

Is this is pile of clothes, or a clever mapper?

Here is a French artist who makes clothes from maps…

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Map o’ Leonardo’s

Ok, so here’s the scoop: There’s going to be an exhibit that will open at the Walters Art Museum here in Charm City in March that’s all about maps. Naturally, I can’t contain myself, and I’m going to share things with you as I find them out.

The exhibition is called Maps: Finding Our Place in the World, and will have tons of rare and important maps that people like me freak out about. The exhibition’s going to have maps from ancient Rome, Benjamin Franklin, JRR Tolkien, and even Leonardo da Vinci.

I know when most people think of Leonardo they think of the Mona Lisa or Dan Brown’s book, or at worst, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

While its true that he is best known as an inventor and painter, turns out he was also an accomplished surveyor and mapmaker. His 1502 map of northern Italy illustrates his groundbreaking idea to use color to indicate changes in elevation, and when the exhibition opens, you’ll be able to see that 500 year old masterpiece up close!

Oh yeah, and did I mention it’s on loan from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II? Apparently, yours truly isn’t the only Majesty of Maps.

If you want to learn about more cool stuff that Leonardo did, you can check out these sites:

Leonardo da Vinci’s 10 Best Ideas

Leonardo da Vinci Blog

Maps by Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, November 19, 2007

At first I thought it was just me. I love maps. When I have nothing else to read, I pick up an atlas, turn to a random page and figure out which route I would take from Point A to Point B. At a bookstore, I'm drawn to the section with guidebooks - not because I've ever been to Prague or Mozambique but because it's neat to see where landmarks are located. I'm the gal who will draw detailed maps rather than recite directions, and whose little attic is filled with maps from Chicago and London and Cecil County --places I haven't been to in years but whose maps I wouldn't dare discard.

And then there's the Internet. Don't get me started! My bookmarks are filled with obscure sites devoted to maps. I threw a party when Google Maps was launched. I'm up late into the night checking out mash-ups and round-ups.

And guess what I discovered? I'm not alone. We ALL love maps. When I tell people what weird unique map site I discovered, they've been there too. When someone introduces me to a new acquaintance as "Her Majesty of Maps," the response is often, "Oh, do you know..." --someone else who gladly gawks at graphic guides. I may have run out of new websites to check out local food or people who drive the same car as me, but I have yet to run out of new map-related websites. I may have read all of William Trevor's novels or listened to every NIN CD or made every recipe on made with marshmallows and chili peppers...but I never run out of maps to peruse because there are so many of us putting stuff out there.

So here's my contribution to our little community of map friends and map fiends, map finds and map features. Enjoy