Guerrilla Cartographer

Two things I hate and will preach against as long as there is polluted air in my lungs: big government and big business.  Unfortunately, my hypocrisy knows no bounds since it seems I can avoid neither. Being a huge fan of the written word and a poor journalist, I can only build a library at a snail’s pace. So when I want to read the latest book or magazine, I am forced with a choice – the public library or going to a corporate bookstore. As of late I’ve chosen the latter because I can read all the material and not pay, it feels like I’m cheating the system that I hate.

While screwing some old white man out of his profits the other day, I discovered an article about An Atlas of Radical Cartography. I subsequently asked for this for Christmas and despite rumors about my many nafarious undertakings, he delivered. The maps are interesting and if you are curious about the contents, check out the above link.

Since examining the maps and reading the accompaning essays, I’ve become obsessed with cartography. Until recently my idea of a map was a piece of paper that once unfolded could never be put back quite right. But maps are so much more than that. They are one of the best examples of combining form and function. Each map is a work of art that is full of useful information. They help us navigate everyday situations, whether that is how to get from Bowling Green, Ky. to Gibson City, Il. or how the economics of oil and war are connected.

There is a whole community dedicated making unique maps. They are an interesting lot who, it seems, are versed in politics, statistics, geography and design. Somehow all these factors are melded into one picture that we call a map.

Viva la mapa revolucion!

1 comment
  1. Patrick said:

    Ever read about geospatial analysis? It involves gleaning trends and understanding from statistical data placed on a map. The Center for Disease control uses it to pinpoint outbreaks, while sociologists use it to determine societal norms of particular areas.

    Here’s an amusing story related to that science that you might enjoy: http://www.ibiblio.org/harris/500milemail.html

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