Friday, June 25, 2010

1:1 Scale Mapping

Kyle House at Fresh Geologic Froth posted a lovely near-finalized copy of his geologic map of Clark County, Nevada- the southernmost county in the state, and home of Las Vegas. Other than some concern that the first-listed component of Lake Mead is lye, I find this to be a terrific example of how geologic maps work as both an elegant way to present information, and esthetically appealing works of art. He posted it with the comment, "There are no perfect maps. Trust me, there truly aren't."

To which I responded, "I think it was Lewis Carroll who said the best map would be 1:1, but where would you keep it? Actually I just Googled it, and the actual quote, from "Sylvie and Bruno Concluded," is a delight:
"And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!"

"Have you used it much?" I enquired.

"It has never been spread out, yet," said Mein Herr: "the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.
There are a number of fun 1:1 map quotes at this site; and several pages of quotes regarding maps here. My favorite from the latter is this one, by Steven Wright: “I have an existential map; it has 'you are here' written all over it.”

Followup: Saturday, June 26: I found the chapter with the Lewis Carroll quote; it shows up about the middle of the chapter. I can see why why the two Sylvie and Bruno books have nowhere near the popularity or recognition of the Alice in Wonderland pair. The style is a little grating- Bruno in particular is way twee- and many of the gags feel forced or perfunctory. That's not to say there aren't some good ones, but for example:
"One remark only I will permit myself to make—that the period of life, between the ages of a hundred-and-sixty-five and a hundred-and-seventy-five, is a specially safe one.”

“How do you make that out?” I said.

“Thus. You would consider swimming to be a very safe amusement, if you scarcely ever heard of any one dying of it. Am I not right in thinking that you never heard of any one dying between those two ages?”
I saw where that one was going by the time I finished the first sentence.

1 comment:

Silver Fox said...

These are great quotes!