My plan for the paper map project is to improve the horrible state campground maps available via the official state campground registrar – Reserve America. From prior family camping trips, we’ve discovered campgrounds far from where the map placed them, parking lots farther from the campsites than shown, and RV lots (with allowed generators) adjacent to campsites marked primitive on the map. Some hard searching will usually turn up better maps, advice relating to the official map, or other sources of information – but it’s not all joined in one place. I plan to pick one state campground – Douthat State Park, West of Lexington – and improve upon the provided map. I would like to show more details about campsites, use colors to identify generator permitted areas from those without, and clarify some of the symbols used on the maps, which normally lack a key for anything.
I’m the Humanities Liaison for the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology at the University of Richmond, and I’m a relatively new Spider. I’ve been at UR since October of 2014, so I still get lost on campus from time to time.
I’m taking this class for a host of reasons.
I’m here because I’m interested in working with faculty to discover new ways of representing – or seeing – their work and how those new methods might help change the questions scholars ask of their research. As an example, if a historian has a wealth of information about land ownership and transfers from a 14th century village, that’s really interesting information about people’s lives. But if she could visualize it in a way that might show who owned land when, compare that information to marriage records, or birth records, etc., that could change the understanding of why and how the land transferred ownership over time. That paints a new picture of history, and would open new avenues to understand how people lived, why they made the decisions they did, etc.
I’m also taking this class because I’m a map junkie. I’ve liked looking at maps and dreaming of places to travel since I was a kid – and I’ve amassed a sizable collection of travel maps.
With both of those “I’m here because” drivers in mind, I’m hoping to learn more about how maps are made. As a map junkie, I’m fascinated by the tradeoffs cartographers must make and interested in learning more about the realities, biases, and history of what’s included in a map and what’s now – which of course speaks volumes about what’s important to the people making (or paying for) the map and what’s valued in their place and time. I’m also hoping to spend loads of time in mapping applications.