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Collecting Cartographies

Final Map
Here is something I've been working on. It isn't at all what I had in mind at first. I struggled a lot with the placement of each element. I tried a horizontal triptych and then a vertical one. I put the GPS coordinates in the middle and then at the bottom. I experimented with colors. Alas, this is what I've ended up with. I found the shell at Siesta Key beach yeas ago and just photographed it today. The shell outline in the middle contains a map of the area that I found it in and then at the bottom the GPS coordinates of the place. I sort of like the contrast between precision (coordinates) and vagueness (unlabeled map). 
Introduction
I love maps, I love traveling, and I love collecting. I can remember spinning my grandfather's globe around as a child, closing my eyes, and letting my finger drag across the smooth surface until it stopped spinning. Wherever my finger landed meant...well actually I'm not sure what it meant. But I loved to see where chance might bring me, where I might end up. Thinking about it now, those were my first days of exploration. 
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Someone recently told me they loved all my collections. "What collections?" I thought. Although obvious, it dawned on me then how I do collect things. There is the old camera collection, the shell collection, the pottery bowls from each country I've traveled to, the box full of maps. My collections are sometimes displayed and sometimes ordered away into neat little boxes. 
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Thinking about these things now brings sense to the project that I'd like to work on that I wrote about in the introductions. Funny how things come to you backwards sometimes :-). I'm going to work on a collection of maps of the countries that I've visited and lived in. I envision using country outlines and filling them with a photo that I have taken on that journey.
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Why am I making this map? For fun? A client? A gift? To showcase my favorite places? Etc.
I'm making these maps for fun and to create another collection for myself. 
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Why am I the expert to create this map?
I'm the expert because they will tell my history and my migration. 
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Who is my target audience?
The target audience for now is just me. Maybe one day they will hang on my walls and my family and friends will see them, maybe one day they'll have a home on my blog/website (if I ever create it). 
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Do I want my final project to be printed or digital? How is going to be used/held? What other constraints do I need to keep in mind moving forward?
Both, I think. If printed, I image them printed as a square, matted and framed.
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What level of detail do I need to include? 
I'm still quite unsure about this. I've thought about including more detail ('pinpoints' of the places within the country, country capitals) and about keeping it really simple. I'd like to include typography elements - gps coordinates, maybe airport codes, maybe dates that I was there, maybe the name of the country (maybe not!). 
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Dear class, I need your help/expertise/guidance on how to.....
Step out of my comfort zone! I tend to keep things orderly (clean lines, digital) and I'd like to push those boundaries if possible. 

Resources/Inspiration

  1. My Pin Board: Cartography
  2. The book Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking

--> Hand-Drawn Map

My hand-drawn map is not related to my final project but is a place dear to my heart. It is the tiny town that I was a volunteer teacher in for a year in Costa Rica. Since it is such a small place, there aren't many roads/houses to map however this map ended up being far more simplistic than I intended. My hand still doesn't know how to follow the instructions of my imagination. Darn hand!

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