Friday, May 2, 2014

Maps... (a different view)


We've been making maps for thousands of years. From Paleolithic cave paintings of the night sky and Cuneiform clay tablets found in Kirkuk to European exploration of the Americas and Google Earth, maps help us explain, define and navigate our way through the world. 

When I was a kid, I would spend many lazy summer afternoons studying my treasured globe. I loved that thing. Sometimes I would close my eyes, spin that blue orb and wherever my finger landed would be the place I would "travel." Morocco. Bali. The Sahara. Such a big world, I thought. I wonder what all these people are doing right now.    

Maps tell us stories. One of my favorite travel sites, Urbane, creates maps that characterize physical places by social connotations. For example, instead of making a map of Manhattan neighborhoods with names like the Upper East Side, Spanish Harlem and Tribeca, Urbane uses crowd-sourced adjectives like "rich and white," "zone of perceived danger" and "apartments you can't afford." Yep. Pretty much sums up NYC.

Check out this brilliant map of Seattle.

And this one, explaining London.

Demystifying Colonial-era neighborhoods in Boston.

And getting the low down on Dallas.

Toronto, San Francisco, Miami, Mexico City, Portland, Philly, New Orleans, Seoul. If you've ever lived in any of these cities, nodding in agreement to the inside jokes will provide a deep sense of satisfaction. On the flip side, if you've never been to these places you'll just have to visit and find out for yourself.

Now close your eyes, point to a place on the map and see where your finger lands. Then go there. Happy travels!  

All maps designed by Urbane. (If you don't see your city, let them know!)