Tuesday, April 04, 2017

There Is Always an Alternate Path

Does your blogging impulse wax and wane?  I have periods when my desire to post is almost non-existent and other times when I feel like Chatty Cathy.  This is one of those feeling chatty periods.  

  I wanted to share this Ted Talk because I found it interesting that Daniel Quercia and his collaborators created an app for "happy maps" of London "that take into account not only the route you want to take, but how you want to feel along the way."  Check it out it is  only a little over 7 minutes long.  Instead of showing only the shortest and most efficient route, his group plotted alternate paths:  a happy path, a beautiful path, and a quiet path.  

Here is an article about the work Quercia and others are doing:  Happy Maps.  There are actually several interesting articles about Quercia's work, but this one caught my attention because of the first paragraph:
"When I was a kid, I loved to draw (fake) maps. I spent hours making up own country, usually going by the name of Jasperland. I’d draw cities, rivers, mountains, and desserts. I imagined coastlines and fields of far-away places. And beyond that, I could spend hours going through the atlas or starting at the map of Europe on my wall." (source)
I did this, too!  I designed maps and houses when I was a kid, content for long lengths of time as I worked on them.  My homes (about as far as you could get from reality) all contained a huge library with dark paneling and a fireplace and a dance studio with mirrors and bars because I was going to be either an archaeologist or a dancer.  

My maps were usually concerned with some kind of adventure from a fiction book I'd read or from a nonfiction book about ancient Rome or an Egyptian archaeological find.  (When I was in the fourth grade, my father put his foot down, I couldn't check out any more Nancy Drew if I didn't bring home something nonfiction.)  Thank you, Dad!

And I still love maps both real and fictional--and adore finding them in books.  Hogwarts, Narnia, Middle Earth, the Hundred Acre Wood.  Deborah Crombie's police procedurals always include maps in the frontispiece that keep me entranced.  

Did you do this?  Create maps made up of your own unique details and preferences?  What were your imaginary creations?  And do you sometimes choose to travel a route because it is more beautiful or interesting, rather than faster? 

14 comments:

  1. No, I never made maps. But I love to LOOK at maps of all kinds. I like the topographical versions especially. I love looking for mountain ranges from where they start in foothills and escalate. I also love to see maps that show where rivers are from start to finish. I absolutely love to find maps in books. I love looking at the atlas. I loved geography in school. Can't you tell, lol.
    xx, Carol

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    1. :) Yes, I can, and I'm also fond of an atlas or a globe. Especially interesting to see old maps and the way names of countries and borders have changed!

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  2. Map making is a window into another world, isn't it - even when the world in question is this one. In London it is often well worth taking a "road less travelled" as you find odd little corners and green spaces you didn't know were there...

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    1. Being in less of hurry can reveal unexpected delights. And considering traffic on main thoroughfares, taking the "longer" route may not take longer!

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  3. No, I did not draw them, unless someone needed written directions, but I too LOVE looking at maps. It's probably that texty thing that draws me in. They can be in color or black & white, makes no never mind, I love them.

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    1. Black and white or color; ancient maps of the way people imagined the world; neighborhood maps; treasure maps! I love them, too!

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  4. Maps do my head in mainly because I am terrible with directions, distances and which way is up but I did draw maps when I was small. Getting lost in London, which I do nearly everytime I go can be fun, as long as you can find your way back eventually and it isn't pouring with rain and you left your umbrella in a shop. Anyway this is a long winded way of saying I found a beautiful small community garden in Vauxhall one time when I was slightly off track, and many interesting buildings and little alleys elsewhere.

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    1. Ha! I didn't mention how bad I am at reading maps, did I? My husband was delighted to have GPS after years of trying to depend on me to read a map! Community gardens--a map of local community gardens like the one you found would be great! It might make for several expeditions, but what fun!

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  5. I tended to write stories when I was a child, and didn't really get into the making of maps. However, my daughter loves to make maps (and come up with stories). I'm going to have to ask my husband if he was a mapmaker as a child. I wouldn't be surprised if he was. He's really fascinated with maps now too.

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    1. A pen/pencil and plenty of paper can still keep kids occupied for hours! Mouse no doubt has gotten her map-making and story-creating imagination from Mom and Dad. :) According to education and learning expert Sir Ken Robinson, "imagination is the source of all human achievement." Creative little minds are practicing for bigger things!

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  6. Oh, I think I wrote or drew just about everything at some time or other. I was an imaginative child and loved to draw (badly) maps, pictures, floorplans (thanks Clue game), write stories, anything. My dream house had a ballroom, Scarlet O'Hara's huge staircase and of course a library with every book I'd ever want to read. I made my own board game and "sewed" doll clothes. Ideas came along, played out and eventually came round again. My mother encouraged all this, but probably because it may have kept me quiet. (She said, more than once, I was born talking and never stopped crying.)

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    1. I had to chuckle at your ballroom and the staircase a la Scarlet O'Hara! And of course, a library! Yep, it does keep kids quiet when they are in "the zone," creating their own worlds! Being able to submerge oneself in creative play can last a lifetime, though; maybe the directions change, but inclination is still there. :)

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  7. No maps for me but boy was I into floor plans. I prefer the slower, scenic route mostly. :) Some days I'm all about the destination, and that's when I wish I could blink and be there.

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    1. :) Floor plans rule--no expense spared. I like slower and more scenic most of the time, but there are always those days when the ability to blink yourself there would be appreciated!

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Good to hear from you!