Paper Maps, Progress, and Politics

19.5.06

In an article for the Times Online titled "You, get off my dashboard" Ben Macintyre writes,

"The paper map will soon die, and with it something central to human experience. There is a joy is not knowing exactly where you are. The electronic gizmo takes you from A to Z, but it does not show you the place you never knew about, off at the side of the map, the road less travelled. The joy of exploration lies in not knowing exactly where you are, or where you are going, in trying to match the visual world outside with the one-dimensional world represented by the map. Wherever you go now, the machine has got there first."

Macintyre raises some good points, as those who do not know where they are might well become dependent on satellite navigation systems and gps for navigation in the future. While we are fast approaching a paperless navigation world, my hopes are that a map that I've been working on with some colleagues is well receive and not thought of as an ancient relic.

Since September of last year I have been collaborating with Brian Payne, Raffeal Merola, and Kyle Skidmore to produce a map of Burnaby Mountain. The map follows up on their work creating a website of Burnaby mountain biking and hiking trails that was unexpectedly shut down due to conflict between the City of Burnaby and a professor at SFU. These actions are unfair and contradict the values and character of the institution as a place of higher learning and discourse. However out of adversity comes innovation and their work has contributed greatly to the production of a prototype paper map that will be made available to the public June the 3rd at SFU's 40th Anniversary Open House.

Here is a preview of the cover.



In all likelyhood, the map may also see a Google Earth version for that day. Let's just hope the majority of the visitors to the open house do not yet have Google Maps on their cell phone yet.


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