“X” Marks the Spot

I like maps.

Their first purpose is obviously function, but I like them for more than that. I think they make good decoration; they’re almost like art. In a way, I guess they’re no more or less art than a photograph. Both are just direct representations of real life. But one problem with maps is that they are a flat representation of the spherical globe. That’s just not ever going to work out completely. Some maps try to keep latitude or longitude lines straight, some go for accuracy of country size, and some try to hit a sweet spot between all these.

Most of us in the states grew up with Mercator or more recently the Goode Homolosine map. It’s funny how constantly seeing a particular projection can warp your mind. Larger countries seem more important, as do countries at the top, and most of our maps over the years have helped feed our self-importance. Just think about it, when was the last time you saw a map that didn’t have the US in the middle or left-middle?

I recently purchased a Peters projection map. I intended to give it to a friend, but never got the chance. Now it’s just mine! I can’t wait to find a good place for it. I’ll hang it upside down, of course. (youtube 1 and 2)

I’m still looking for a good Seattle map, if anyone’s got any good ideas. And the first person who suggest I just buy a GPS gets a knuckle sandwich.

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~ by nhak on December 5, 2007.

3 Responses to ““X” Marks the Spot”

  1. Way back when I first met Mattbear when we both worked at The Place Which Shall Not Be Named, there was another member of our team who left shortly thereafter to go work in his family’s local map store. Maybe Mattbear remembers more details and can direct you there. A store devoted to maps has to have some quality product.

  2. Paul’s family runs 1 World Adventures and 1 World Maps. They are strictly an online outfit. Sadly I haven’t seen Paul in a long time. He’s a great guy. His parents used to pay for him to go to the Tour de France to report on it for their travel site. As a former bicycle messenger, he loved the Tour.

    I also highly recommend Metsker’s Maps. You can check out their online store, or hit up their real store down on First.

    When I saw what your post was about, I immediately thought of that scene from West Wing. That is one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite shows, ever. You mention upside down, but sadly the YouTube video there doesn’t go all the way to the part where they talk about putting south at the top.

  3. Thanks for the note about the videos. I added the 2nd part of the sequence.

    I do recall being in Metsker downtown a while ago. That place is quite cool. I may just go down and spend some time there perusing.

    Maybe I can find a rare hidden treasure map!

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