When I decided on the topic for the Atlas of Us, I had just come to think of maps as an art form and not just a geological tool. The second option for this assignment was to ask my friends or family to draw a map of a location with which we are all familiar. The only place I have in common with a few of my friends is my high school and there are not enough of us to have met the requirements for the assignment. So I began thinking of things which we all have in common which are not concrete. I almost asked my friends to draw a map of me, but I was worried what they would put on it so I turned it around and asked them to map themselves.
ROB: Like a biological map?
ME: If that’s how you’d interpret this.
GAIL: Like where I go throughout my day?
ME: If you’d like.
ADALYNNE: Can I do it in crayon?
I had attempted to give more specifics on the assignment but ultimately withheld most of them except to say “If you needed to draw something which helped define you to another person, what would be on it?”
Some maps were incredibly explanatory: Rob’s map, for example, comes with labels and buildings and maps out his areas of knowledge; Gail’s map is simply her work day. Other , like Kiel’s and Amanda’s, are comprised of text, although I imagine this has more to do with lack of artistic skill than anything else.
I did find it hard to look at these maps with an unbiased mind. I have known these cartographers for many years, some upwards of 20 years and many things popped off the page to me because of it.