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weblog archives
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Friday, October 21, 2005
The Open Street Map project (via Boing Boing) is a very laudable attempt to wrest control of mapping back into open source, away from the likes of the Ordnance Survey, Promap, etc., etc., who currently control the data and charge large amounts of money for it. Open Street Map simply points out that GPS technology essentially makes all this information available for free - you just have to collate it. Buy their rather beautiful London Poster to support the project (or download this elegant desktop wallpaper).

What intrigued us most is the concept of the Copyright Easter Egg, the deliberate mistakes introduced by mapping companies to see if they can catch out their competitors. For example, consider the aptly-named Lye Close, a small cul-de-sac appearing an A-Z of Bristol. Only it doesn't actually exist. A few years ago there was an exhibition at the British Library entitled The Lie of the Land: the library's very first webcast was entitled 'Secret Lives, Secret Maps,' which looked at maps as disinformation, for example the post-war concealment of Prestwick Airport. Or cartographic proof that Allied bombs were targeted at Dresden's residential heart. It also introduced us to Lobster Magazine - 'the journal of Parapolitics'. Cartographic easter eggs are different, though, and unlike the type now routinely inserted in games and DVDs. Clearly you can lie with maps, but actually finding these copyright 'footprints' is difficult. Publically, according to this page, the OS does not include deliberate mistakes. Perhaps a trawl through The Map Room's links will reveal more.

More mapping. How influential is your city? The Commoncensus Map Project is trying to create a cultural map of the USA (via kottke) / church burning, a tumblelog, also noted by k (who kindly linked us as well, much to someone's chagrin) / absent without leave, a weblog / Oxford Circus Underground Timewarp. One for Underground History / experimental cars from Mercedes-Benz / blinging Mercedes, Japanese style, at F-Class / Petrol Maps, 'Mapping the history of oil company road maps in Europe' / a collection of mythical islands.

Ultra-modern ruins: MVRDV's Dutch Pavilion, constructed for the Hanover Expo in 2000 (via Mondom, who also link 'Physical SimVillage: Interactive 3-D Telecommunications device for Architectural Design Project'). Modern Ruins are an ongoing fascination: here are ruins of the 1964 World's Fair in New York. There's something so wholesome and innocent about Du Pont's Wonderful World of Chemistry revue (seven year's before A Clockwork Orange as well!). An earlier post on the Hanover Expo.

Photographer Douglas Levere, and his New York Changing project, get the tmn treatment. These are stunning images, but this is perhaps the worst way to experience International Style architecture (e.g. this vs this). Given Berenice Abbott's original images were framed by the existing architecture, Levere has no choice but to take the same viewpoint, regardless of the framing, and it could be argued that he is deliberately using a pre-modern eye, not used to to the abstraction of the monolithic building.

The piece also made us search out more about the Garibaldi Memorial, seen here before (1932) and after (1998): 'After the defeat of his Roman army, the Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi sought refuge from 1850 to 1854 with his friend Antonio Meucci, a Florentine stage designer and inventor who had settled in this small cottage on Staten Island.' The curious pantheon cover was added in 1907 when the house was moved. It was actually made of concrete. It was taken away in 1952. The house is now the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum. In America, Meucci is the named inventor of the telephone. Garibaldi invented a biscuit, which 'commands a unique position in the biscuit world.'

Speaking of London, we spent an enjoyable half hour revisiting the Charles Booth Online Archive this afternoon / buy fine pens at the Fountain Pen Hospital / buy fine wines at South London's Green and Blue wines (extra, get tips from tmn's Claire Miccio, queen of Tight Wine) / Sark to the Dome, a walk by Russell Davies (a continuation of a Thames walk we did a few years ago. Scenes like this have already changed dramatically due to new construction) / the ultimate Lost page.