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!