Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Sunday, February 29, 2004 11:03 am

Points on the map

Filed under: Geek-related issues — Lex @ 11:03 am

True confession: I’m a map geek. Always have been. When I was a little kid, I would draw up “treasure maps” and I never got disappointed when they invariably failed to lead to treasure; the map itself was the thing. As I got older and learned to read road maps, I wondered at how they imposed a sense of order, and even inevitability, on the long trips we would take to visit relatives scattered from the DC area to northern Florida. In my early teens, when we would frequently visit my grandfather’s cottage in Montreat, I would spend hours staring at the glass-encased papier-mache topographic map of the Montreat area, the product of two years of work by Montreat College geography classes. (I wish I knew what happened to that thing. I pray no one threw it away.) Even today, I gaze with envy on the topographic map of North Carolina that hangs in the reception area of the paper’s editorial office and have told our edit-page editor that if he ever decides to redecorate, I have first dibs on that map.

As fortune would have it, I now live in the era of computer-aided mapping, when geographic-information systems and desktop programs like ArcView make it possible for anyone with a fast computer and a little disposable income to create all manner of data-driven maps. We’ve used some of them at work, particularly to illustrate various stories we wrote based on data from the 2000 Census, but we’re only beginning to tap the potential.

I mention all this as background for why I find this site so cool: It uses mapping to represent not just space (distance), but time: Distances are represented visually according to how long a computer ping takes to travel from one particular point (in this example, Berlin) to other sites around the world, and back. Way cool.

1 Comment

  1. […] } Long have I spoken here of I love map-geekitudeiness. So how is it that never, until today, have I stumbled upon The Strange […]

    Pingback by The Strange Maps blog « Blog on the Run: Reloaded — Tuesday, September 29, 2009 8:15 pm @ 8:15 pm

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