22 August 2010

Globes inspire!

I like globes and maps. Maybe it's because I've been enamored by the mystique of foreign places since I was a little girl.

We traveled extensively within Indiana when I was young, camping in every state park. Because my dad set that goal, we went to parks we might not have thought to visit. Maybe that is what set me up for Geocaching now; that sense of curiosity and adventure might be hereditary!

Armchair travel is quite a good option for people who can't actually get out and go. Reading about far away places and the people who inhabit those places can stretch our worldview, enrich our lives and give us a different sense of the place in which we live.

Maps and globes are fascinating. The early versions were better than nothing, but often inaccurate due to the limitations of travel and the inability to capture data as we can today. Their rudimentary instruments and lack of perspective that satellites give makes their achievements amazing!

And what would we do without Google Maps? Damon Zucconi’s Fata Morgana strips Google Maps of all the imagery — no coastlines, bodies of water, or roads — leaving only the labels behind. Zoom out and all you see is country names; zoom in close enough and you see street names, highway markers and exits, subway stops, and other points of interest. via The Map Room

What people have done with maps is fascinating too! I've seen jackets & dresses, umbrellas, lamp shades and shower curtains made of maps or map prints. Glass globes make good paper weights. I have globe marbles, key chains and ear rings. No, I don't wear the ear rings, but they were a thoughtful gift that I don't have to dust.

Another element to my map appreciation is the naming of or inclusion of places. Many people can tell when a map or globe was printed by checking the names of countries. Some countries change their names more than others, but a sense of geography and historical political events can assist in the dating of a globe, if it is not written in fine print somewhere obscure.

Does the globe include Abyssinia, Siam, Ceylon, Yugoslavia, Rhodesia, Kampuchea or Nyasaland? It might be out of date but a great historical find.

I like this version of DHL's globe. It's almost smiling at you. Another important factor is that it includes New Zealand. While many other island nations are left off, NZ is included. I know that must be a difficult decision for map makers.
"Do we include Fiji or not?"
"All 33 islands or just the significant ones?"
"If the island is inhabited, it is significant to someone!"
You get the idea.

When next you pass a map, especially a large format that takes authority over a space, consider where you'd like to go that you've never been to before. What country or continent intrigues you? I have my short list. What's yours?

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