The joy of mapmaking.


I’ve been through the cave three times now. Cameras and notebooks aren’t allowed, so every time I go in, I just try to impress everything on my memory and then scribble notes in my Moleskine once we’re back in the car park. I’ve also started to make a composite map of all my memories (snapshot, above). It’s very inadequate. The cave is hardly linear, for starters. Next time I go in, I’m going to pay attention to one thing only: relative angle changes. That is, 40° to the right, followed by 110° to the left, et cetera, like headings…I have to remember my flight training all over again.

The process is deeply pleasurable. I feel like I’m building my own playground. This cave is where my characters will live through one of the most wondrous and horrific days of their lives. I have to get it right.

4 Comments on “The joy of mapmaking.”

  1. clare says:

    ah, deeply pleasurable indeed. Maps are magical, to look at, to make.

  2. Check out Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends. The book begins with a journey into the unknown. For which, of course, you will need a map. Maps have the power to fire the imagination. The most seductive maps are the ones with unmarked, unexplored territories at their outer edges. This is where the doubts begin and conjectures are spawned.

  3. You might also enjoy Ken Jennings’ fascinating book, Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks.

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