Blog Post: Personal Mapping

This weeks readings were rather interesting, to say the least. But after reading through Harmon’s You Are Here, I have to admit that the readings left me more confused than interested. I am not sure why, (perhaps I just have a narrow frame of mind) but the lack of any central theme in You Are Here left me with little ideas and less understanding.

I recognize the fact that mapping has changed over time, and that maps can be used to say many different things in many different ways. But You Are Here seems to be merely a list of examples rather than a text with a directed argument. Each and every short text in the book, indeed each and every example shown, seemed to be making a different argument, and my attempts to find a common thread linking them all were exercises in frustration. In the end, You Are Here was interesting to look at, but it’s impact was greatly dampened by my confusion over what that impact was supposed to be.

In other, related news, I’ve been having much fun practicing SketchUp, and have started attempting to recreate the Bridge at Nijmegen, one of the crucial bridges related to my project, the Allied invasion of Holland. The failure of the 82nd Airborne to capture this bridge in the opening assaults allowed the Germans to delay the Allied push by several crucial days, and though it would eventually be taken intact through daring assault, it was too late for the British and Polish paratroopers at Arnhem. 

Now if only it was easier to make a bridge in SketchUp… Fun times!

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4 thoughts on “Blog Post: Personal Mapping

  1. I had many of the same feelings as you, initially, while reading You Are Here. I think it’s partially the concept that we discussed about historians and images. We were seeking the argument, the explanation…instead we got bombarded by lots of crazy images. After a bit of examination, though, I began to appreciate it, as both art and maps. The one that stuck out the most to me WAS text, but the body map of all her injuries was really striking to me. I started to think of the imaginary mapping from a whole different perspective, which helped me appreciate the rest of the work.

  2. I can relate to how you felt with Harmon’s book. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who felt this way. I can see the overall worth of a book on personal geographies and imaginary maps, but for our purposes I kinda felt, like you, that You Are Here added more questions than answers to our overall understanding of cartography.

  3. I actually disagree. I thought You Are Here was a great read. The book calls on the reader to fully embrace their imagination and allow the images to be viewed as products of imagination rather than as physical maps. The text, in my opinion, fully supported this and, as Anne already pointed out, the body map was a great example of this. The book pushes the reader to think outside of normal mapping roles and techniques. By mapping the imagination we allow for a more interactive, personal mapping experience in which anything and everything can be mapped, including one’s past experiences.

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