The summer I graduated from college, my friend Jane and I drove cross-country and back. I don't even remember using a guidebook but what I do remember are a whole set of AAA Trip-Tiks that guided us across the country, showing us scenic routes and interesting places to explore (which must explain the visit to Wall Drug).
This summer I've been reminded of how much I loved those maps as I've come across a number of different great mapping projects (digital and not) that provide ways to explore communities near and far. As I think about what local history museums might do differently, these provide all kinds of inspiration. (and don't miss this post about what one museum did with maps--an exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society).
Here's a bit of what's come across my virtual desk:
This compelling animation of 315 years of the Atlantic Slave Trade. As you watch it, think about the fact that each of tiny dots represents a boat, with hundreds of people on board.
Curious about the contemporary lives of cities around the world? Check out Spotify's Interactive Music Map that creates playlists of "songs are most distinctively enjoyed in cities around the world." I've been working accompanied by music from places I've visited and places I want to go (and wondering why some cities are missing).
Canaction, an international architectural festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, checked out what made its city's residents happy. In Map Me Happy, large scale maps were installed in four different locations and volunteers collected more than 850 responses--locations and thoughts--to places that made Kyivians happy (photo at the top of this post from their website) One of the take-aways? "Our team realized that our Map can link people and be a place where everyone can be heard."
What does your place smell like? It's not surprising that in London, St. James Park smells like nature, but who would have thought that around the Tower of London smells like animals? This incredible smells map of London (and the associated data and videos) let your nose lead you around.
The New York Public Library has mapped thousands and thousands of historic photographs from their collection. Literally, you can click on almost any street corner in Manhattan and get views of changing New York.
Many, if not most of these maps focus on cities. I'd love to see more examples that explore small towns and the countryside. We're worthy of mapping too!
Radical Cartography: innovative map thinking about everything you can imagine--and don't forget to check out Brilliant Maps, just as it says. Happy travels from your armchair or with your suitcase in hand.
(Above: My sisters and I on an early map-driven expedition).