Monday, March 31, 2008

Mapping Harry Potter

How good are the Harry Potter books? So good that many people have drawn maps of Hogwarts based on the descriptions in the book – and they are wonderfully, surprisingly similar. Steve Vander Ark has created a scarily extensive (and I mean, yikes!) website of all-things-Harry Potter (so much so that JK Rowling sued him) with an Atlas of Hogwarts. It shows different peoples' maps of Hogwarts. Check it out, and if you dare, wander over to the other 700 pages of Harryphenalia. Seriously, yikes!

Friday, March 28, 2008


Asks a Mr. Robert Kosara: “What would happen if you were to connect all the ZIP codes in the US in ascending order? Is there a system behind the assignment of ZIP codes? Are they organized in a grid? The result is surprising and much more interesting than expected.” Here’s his answer.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Missed My Calling

The first time I said it, it was ridiculous. The second time, I was being facetious. Now, I’m beginning to wonder.

I should have been a curator.

Check out Gary Vikan’s blog post about Maps: Finding Our Place in the World. He is the very well known, very well educated, very well spoken director at the Walters Art Museum. There are about a gazillion incredible, famous, important, way cool maps in the exhibit that he could have written about. Let’s see, we got the Leo Belgicus lion map…. Napoleon’s march… the mammoth Coronelli Celestial globes…the first map ever made…. but noooooooooo! – he picks the same map that I said (to you) a few days ago was one of my favorites.

It’s now my favorite.

Hey Dr. Vikan, I have an MS degree! (Map Smarts). I received my PhD (Plotting Hard Directions). I studied at the Sorbonne (if by Sorbonne, you mean “so, you’re boning up on maps?”) If you need an extra curator, give me a shout.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mapping Mount Vernon - The Good, The Bad and... The No Comment

It is a gorgeous day in Baltimore and I used it as an opportunity to kill two birds (orioles, naturally) with one stone. I whipped out the Literary Mount Vernon Map, created by the Maryland Humanities Council for the Baltimore Festival of Maps, which I picked up last weekend, and started off on my walking tour. Naturally, I couldn’t ignore the infamous and forever to be famous gold chain link fence surrounding the Mount Vernon Parks.

First, Literary Mount Vernon. As I’ve said before, who knew?!... that F. Scott Fitzgerald and Tupac Shakur lived practically across the street from each other (not at the same time mind you, but still very cool). All of the ‘characters’ of Mount Vernon look like little bobble-heads! If you want to check it out for yourself, you can pick up a map at the Humanities Council or download one from their website.

And then…the Fence. No comment.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

On Repeat

You know how a song gets stuck in your head and you can’t stop singing it to yourself? Well, I’ve got 100 images stuck in my head. I can’t stop thinking about Maps: Finding Our Place in the World at the Walters Art Musuem.

I’m trying to pick my favorite piece in the exhibit. So far (for the moment, temporarily, for now) I’ve narrowed it down to two.

Geological map of England 1815-17

“The Map that Changed the World”, as it is often called, is very, very cool. It is the first geological map of England and it helped to correctly date the earth for the first time (not that there’s anything wrong with using the Bible as your guide, mind you). Plus – it is huge – 6’x 9’!

Map of London on Glove for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Yes, I know the glove map is everywhere. It’s been a little over used to promote the exhibit - blah, blah, blah. Nonetheless it is very cool to actually see it in person. It was created for the first Worlds Fair in 1815. A lady visitor could wear it on her left hand and point out her destination with her right. A fashion accessory AND a map - what more could a girl ask for?

Monday, March 24, 2008

A new look at U.S.

I’m not sure which is cooler – the map showing the influence of major cities or the neat magnifying function.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Finding My Place in the World

So I think I’ve finally had time to digest all the mappy-ness I was exposed to this weekend. Not only did I get to listen to Kianga’s tour, I was privileged enough to see Maps: Finding Our Place in the World at the Walters on Friday night. (It was the Member’s Preview and my connection at the Walters scored me admission – I felt like I got the “royal” treatment.)

After all the anticipation and waiting, I was afraid the exhibit wouldn't live up to my expectations. But it did. The exhibit totally blew my mind. Looking at the maps online is cool. Seeing them first-hand, all up close and personal is very, very cool.

One of the really interesting things is the scale – the John Smith map of Virginia is smaller than I thought, while Smith’s “map that changed the world” is really quite large.

Being around so many maps, large and small, that are so important and full of history helped me better understand where my place in the world is.

There were so many maps – from Tolkien to Leonardos (yes multiple!). The whole thing made me a little dizzy. I wasn’t sure if I should spend my time looking at the HUGE Coronelli Celestial globes or gazing into the heavens of the Hubble images. It was total map overload, so much in fact that I think I will have to go back and see it again. I mean what if I missed something!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Story of This Place

I went to my first Baltimore Festival of Maps event over the weekend. Kianga Ford (described as a “sound and installation artist” – who knew?!) was at the Maryland Humanities Council (who knew?!?) reading her story about the parks in Mt. Vernon. She was accompanied by DJ Dubble8 (who knew?!) on the turntable and computer. It was way cool – Kianga (it means sunshine – I looked it up) wrote a fiction story based on the actual places around Mt. Vernon, and DJ D8 put together this neat collection of waltzes and famous Baltimore club (who knew?!?) music. Then I got an iPod from the Contemporary Museum and listened to the tour again while actually walking around the park. The image above is the map for the tour.

The iPod tour was commissioned by the Contemporary Museum, where you too can pick up an iPod and take the tour. You can download the tour and the map from the comfort of your very own Barcalounger and there’s going to be a new tour introduced every two weeks. Way cool.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I feel like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction - completely obsessed, preoccupied and a little bit in love.
A few days ago, my new best friend at National Geographic Online, Marilyn introduced me to her blog Map of the Day. Very cool blog about maps - need i say more? (Probably not but i will because it gets better.)

The blog has a daily quiz about geography or history that relates to the map of the day. I am completely addicted. So much in fact that one quiz a day isn't enough for me - I've had to rummage through the archives to get my fix. I'm already looking forward to tomorrow's question!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thank You Eliot Spitzer

I have been fascinated by this whole Elliot Spitzer debacle. Poor Silda. But of course, I quickly recovered from my Pity Party to return to the matters at hand.

How about a map of political indiscretions in Washington DC.

Or the 1871 Hooker Map of New York City (I don’t think that’s what it means)

Speaking of which… Strangemaps has this gem showing where rapper Ludacris claims to have uh… um… ladies like Kristin.

The image at the top? That’s a plan for Washington DC drawn by a “W. Elliot” in 1833.” What do you think that W. stands for, weasel?”

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Map Frenzy

Another Baltimore Sun story about maps!! Very very cool. You mean there is actually an organization for people like me? (I can hear it now: “Hi. I’m Her Majesty, and I’m a map addict…”)

This Baltimore Festival of Maps really is turning out to be a big deal. And I’m counting down the days until I, too, can go see "Maps: Finding Our Place in the World" at the Walters.

Mars and Venus

I asked an innocent question about why the mappers who respond to my blog – and probably who most likely respond to maps – tend to be men.

Cartophiliac commented that it’s probably a spatial thing between men and women… venus and mars… hens and roosters… Hillary and Bill. (Thanks for the comment, Carto!)

It got me thinking. So naturally, that got me googling. For your reading pleasure:;jsessionid=HVhDJ2rBR1QVPwvLnLnYpFJ1f3bFrGLh6SkWTJHbFzhL4DZT5f15!-1452952156?docId=5009299535

Monday, March 10, 2008

Something’s Coming…

There’s something in the air. Things seem just a little bit different. I smell anticipation. (Or is it just this shirt I’m wearing?)

Read the article from this past Saturday’s Baltimore Sun about the Walters’ map exhibit that opens this coming Sunday (yippee!!!! at long last!!! it’s about time!!! finally!!!) I heard that the media (make that, the “real” media) got to see it this morning. The rest of us will just have to wait until Sunday, I guess. Count me in.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Still Another Tip of the Tiara

My cup runneth over. You guys (why ARE you all guys) have been great – sending me links, responding to my posts. Thank you for you inspiration, your thoughts, and for your oh so cool maps that I have pilfered and plundered and put on display as if they were my own.

Two of my new faves:

John Krygier, wish I had you as a college professor -

Dug – I dig your digest -

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Texture Message

After posting the map of Hull House, I found this – multivariate data with texture. I guess that means “kinda cool” in cartologyism.

Monday, March 3, 2008

One Wrong Turn and…

The royal chariot was in the shop a few days ago, so I had to rent a car for a couple of days. What was inside but --- a GPS! Awesome! Be still my heart. So of course I spent all my lunch hours (and weekend…) driving around Charm City trying to get it to slip up but alas, I couldn’t outsmart the thing.

I was telling my new buddy at the Walters about it and he told me about one of the pieces soon to be on display at the Walters big big map exhibit. The Rand McNally Chicago to Lake Geneva Photographic Automobile Guide, sort of a pre-cursor to a modern navigation system. The book was written in 1905 by H Sargent Michaels and featured “turn by turn” directions from Chicago to Lake Geneva, with photographs of each turn taken from a camera mounted on the hood of a car. Very cool, back in the day. It’s very much like (i.e., pretty similar… exactly like) a mashup of Google Maps’ new StreetView feature and Hertz’ NeverLost GPS.

H Sargent will always have a special place in my heart.