Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Monday, April 4, 2011

Just Try Folding One Up Properly

Monday, April 4, 2011 (that's today) is National Read a Road Map Day.  (Any "doubting Thomas" can look it up.)  For those of you who have only used Google Maps, MapQuest, GPS (global positioning systems), or some other online or computerized cartographical gadgets, allow me to introduce you to the techniques used by your parents, grandparents, and other lineal ascendants.  It's called a paper map.  You take it out from where you keep it, unfold it, hold it in your hands, and look at it.  Paper maps show you where you've been, where you are, where you're going, and how to get there, or anywhere, from any place.  They look much like the online equivalents you're accustomed to, except that they're printed.  On paper.

"No Clue.  You?"

Being a feline, I don't have to read my own maps, paper or otherwise; instead, I've got minions to do it for moi (quite rightly, sang Donovan in "Mellow Yellow" [1966]).  Paper map reading is an acquired skill requiring a moderate investment of time and effort to hone.  It comes easily to some (e.g., Scowl-Face) but not to others (e.g., the Lady With the Red Hair; Writer Girl).  One must first become familiar with all of the various symbols and abbreviations.  Having a rudimentary sense of direction is helpful.  Being able to mentally translate two-dimensional representations into a three-dimensional reality is likewise useful.  Once acquired, paper map reading skills are never lost, although they may lie fallow for extended time periods requiring refreshment.  (That's a good idea.  Minions, get me something cool to drink.)

Looking Fairly Touristy, There

Much more challenging than reading a paper map is folding (or, more precisely, refolding) one.  In seventh grade geography class, Scowl-Face, along with his classmates, was required to learn how to properly fold a map.  This was a graded exercise.  His teacher, who shall remain nameless but was widely believed by his students (including a German immigrant who probably knew one when he saw one) to be a refugee from the German National Socialist Party of the 1930s-1940s, was emphatic that this quaint skill should be mastered.  Apparently, it was, because Scowl-Face, to this day, knows how to fold a paper map.  Unfortunately, some never manage it.

Map Folding for Beginners

Not the Preferred Method

My Library offers a wide variety of paper maps for your convenient perusal.  These include:
  • Morgan County, Indiana maps;
  • State of Indiana maps;
  • United States atlases;
  • World atlases;
  • Other cartographical wonders

The Piri Reis map (1513) purportedly shows the coastline of Antarctica as it would appear if completely free of ice, which, of course, it wasn't at the time of the map's drawing.  This map was extensively analyzed by historian and humanities professor Charles Hapgood in his book, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings: Evidence of Advanced Civilization in the Ice Age (Adventures Unlimited Press, 1997). 

Piri Reis Map (1513)

Makes a Nice Cover for Hapgood's Book

Sadly, we don't have a book trailer featuring this work (get off your duff, Scowl-Face, and do some real work for a change!), but we do have a book trailer showcasing Hapgood's The Path of the Pole (Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999).

Incidentally, my Library does not have a copy of the Piri Reis map; however, we do have Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (MPL call no. 912.09 HAP) and Path of the Pole (MPL call no. 551.13 HAP).  Use your Evergreen Indiana library card (if you have one, of course) to check them out.  You could also search for them in the Evergreen Indiana online catalog, if you want to place holds online.

Paper maps are more than just an ancient, reliable technology; they are also great fun (in the right hands).  In the video below, Ingmar demonstrates how to professionally fold a map quickly and efficiently (eye-roll).

My Minions Also Fold My Maps, So It's a Snap For Moi,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Cartographical News Beat

P.S.  Enjoy this cute animated video featuring "Mellow Yellow," by Donovan (1966).

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