Mapping On My Mind

Mapping On My Mind

8982646.jpgI’ve been thinking a lot about maps for the past couple of weeks. It started with geographical ones – a friend of mine has an amazing collection of maps, new and old, and I’ve been advising him on framing. (Aside: maps are often big, and framing them is HARD.) I also posted here early on about Mappr, an application which uses geographical data from tags on Flickr to create a new way of looking at both spaces and images.

There seems to be a surge of interest around mapping the social relationships within Flickr. Flickrgraph creates a madly pulsing dynamic web out of you and your connections. Another user has created an amazing network map of Flickr users with at least 50 mutual contacts.

Edward Tufte has been talking about Envisioning Information for a while now. Then yesterday, I stopped into Zakka with a friend who was in town from San Francisco, and came across the book pictured here Mapping: An Illustrated Guide to Graphic Navigational Systems. It’s a gorgeous book, with amazing illustrations and essays that explore the idea of mapping well beyond cartography.

I am sure that friends of mine reading this are snickering about my newfound map fascination. I have an epically bad sense of direction, and usually an aversion to looking at maps at all. My instincts are reliable only in the sense that if I think “turn left”, turning right is the safest bet. Of course, the mapping explored in these various applications and books has little to do with my propensity to get lost on the L.I.E. and more to do with giving information dimension.