Thursday, September 6, 2012
Connect With Maps
“The ground and not the map…is the primary document…Field work consists in comparing the map with the actual ground.” S.W. Wooldridge
Have you ever had a trustworthy friend give you directions that you can’t make head nor tail of? Often even when we look at the same ground we can orient it differently.
Once I tried giving a directionally challenged friend landmarks to guide her way as basic roadmaps and linear directions only confused her. I told her to make a left turn at the large tree on the corner, which could still be seen in heavy fog. However, that particular night there was no fog and other streets had ‘large’ trees as well. She finally turned at the biggest tree she came to hoping that was it. (In the days after phone booths and before cell phones too)
In my own city, another friend recently texted me to pick her up on the SW corner of a densely populated intersection where making left turns was impossible. I had no concept of which of the four corners was the one she meant and my passenger couldn’t see her in the crowd. She had scoped out her visit by north, south, east, west orientation parameters. I drove oriented by street names, landmarks and no left turns. Plus the way my city is structured there’s no real way to tell which is east or west except at dawn and dusk. Our directional conversation did not meld together at all. Fortunately my passenger understood both versions so spent the day ‘translating’ for me as we navigated our locations. It was an interesting experience because I have often had to find my routes through unfamiliar cities, but I could not grasp her compass point mapping.
1. How does your character navigate when driving, or walking, or other mode of transportation central to your world setting?
2. Can she adapt if given directions contradictory to her normal mode of mapping her ground?
3. What does that do to the emotional tension within her? Could you use a minor journey to create added conflict?
Share: Share what has been one of the most humorous set of directions you have ever received.