Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Route 66: Bristow to Edmond (OKC) + Old Route 51: Cushing to Stillwater

A family journey with maps and photos.  Includes a trip along route 66 on April 13th; followed by another along old route 51 on April 15th






One of the very few license plate maps I've come across


The start of our track, at Bristow


My mother told me this reminds her of her father's service station


A re-furbished old building along 'the route'


The water tower at Depew, a very interesting little town with a long section of original route pavement


Original route pavement alongside the newer maintained highway


This is what the roadside motels used to look like.  Some for rent


A large route 66 mural


Early Bird Diner (Help Wanted).  Note the crows enjoying route 66 coffee


Early Bird Diner


In Chandler, where my stepfather used to get piano lessons


An old Philips station in Chandler


Refurbished old building along the route.  Essentially a painted shell of a building


The reddest dirt I've seen, down towards Arcadia


One of the best old buildings




Old gas pumps.  The glass part at the top has a gauge that lets the customer see how much gas has been pumped by watching the level go down


An old Pepsi cooler


At the town of Luther, which has the route 66 sign as part of its town logo



And finally, two images from route 51 between Cushing and Stillwater
This monument was erected to commemorate Oklahoma's entry into the Civil War


There is round mountain itself, a very visible high point along route 51





Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Maps and Memes cover

Maps and Memes now has a cover!
This cover plus a 'blurb' will appear in the autumn 2014 catalogue at McGill-Queen's University Press (MQUP).

Monday, March 31, 2014

Egham to Richmond (return) via Feltham

Map made using QGIS 2.2

This little ride on Saturday tired me out.  First, I found a new path to Ashford but had to return home to report my findings and eat breakfast.  Then, I set out to retrace the path to Ashford, working my way beyond that safe zone of farm fields and ponds, towards Feltham, with the ultimate goal of Richmond.  The weather was fine, and I made it to Richmond in time to pick up a Ritter Sport chocolate bar and a smoothie before heading back home.  Here are some of the things I saw on the way there and back:

Cows in Ashford/Staines

On the old Roman road from Ashford to Feltham

Near Castle Road, Feltham

End of Castle Road, on Chertsey Road

Chertsey Road

Chertsey Road

Looks like a lovely little linear park
But I didn't have time to linger...

Remnants of flooding in Richmond

The lovely park in Richmond behind the high street

The bike

Near the castle on Castle Road

Castle Road

Castle Road

Frightening...knife and gun disposal unit

Spring time, on the way home

Crimea/Cartography

"It's impossible to have a truly objective map" says the interviewer in a story posted at onthemedia.org.  He's talking to Michael Blanding (author of the forthcoming The Map Thief), who goes on to explain the Borges story about the 1:1 map that covers the whole world.  Shrinking things to manageable size necessitates selection and generalisation, not to mention the production of cartography textbooks and manuals.  This, in a story about the cartographic battle for Crimea.

Crimea has been annexed by Russia, but it is not official until state departments, cartographers, and commercial mapmakers make maps reflecting the geopolitical shift.  Rand McNally and National Geographic have both been pulled into the battle for cartographic representation, but they are hedging their bets, waiting on the outcome of various diplomatic dealings and official statements as John Kerry and others do their work.

Google and Wikipedia are both mentioned.  Google, which is free but not open-source, has been badgered to make changes to its maps and it has so far resisted anything overtly political.  Wikipedia allows changes by users and a battle has ensued with edits and counter-edits being made to their map of Russia.

Listen to the audio here:
Crimea: Crisis of Cartographic Proportions

Place Memes 2.0

Place Memes is officially in a new re-vamped incarnation with (hopefully) better design, and an evolved sense of content.  Therefore I'm calling it version 2.0, even though the title of the blog stays the same (Place Memes).

This change coincides with receiving the cover art for my forthcoming book (Maps and Memes), appearing soon in the autumn 2014 catalogue of McGill-Queen's University Press, within the Native and Northern series.

It also coincides with the acceptance of a paper for the 2014 RGS-IBG meeting, entitled "Self-curation and the memetic academic," mentioned in the previous post.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

RGS-IBG 2014

A paper has been accepted for the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014, in the 4th session (Curation in the Digital Age) of a program called "Where Culture Meets Economy: Co-Producing Conceptual Understandings of Curation."  The overall session abstract follows:

"The concept of curation is attracting increasing levels of interest and engagement from scholars across geography. As the motivations, practices, materialities, spatial dynamics and outcomes of curation encompass the cultural and economic, research is being conducted from a range of perspectives. Cultural and historical geographers have studied exhibitionary geographies, explored the curation of art movements, and have recently taken up curatorial practice as part of their research practice. Economic geographers have started to examine the processes and spatial dynamics of curation in highly competitive cultural industries such as music and fashion where a range of actors, operating in a range of physical and virtual spaces, evaluate and ascribe value to specific products and experiences. As few attempts have been made to share and integrate these complementary approaches, this session brings together scholars from across geography to co-produce a more nuanced understanding of curation. In particular, the papers will explore the range of actors (individuals, algorithms, institutions, neighbourhoods), spatialities (museums, shops, streets, neighbourhoods, blogs) and values (economic, symbolic, cultural, social) associated with curation."

The working title of my paper is "Self-curation and the memetic academic."  This paper will present the Place Memes blog as an example of academic knowledge production in a web 2.0 paradigm.  Here is the abstract:

"This paper examines intersecting areas of concern between academia as increasingly invested in social media for the propagation of ideas, for peer review, and for promotion; and the artist as self-curating agent of change. I argue that academia and the arts increasingly overlap at a memetic level, in which self-selection and horizontal (i.e. spatial) transmission of information dominate. Empirically, this study uses a blog created and maintained by the author as a source of data for examining the question of the sustainability of the self-curating model of academia. Specifically, I examine the self-created blog Place Memes for evidence of peer-review, rigor and potential addition to the academic portfolio of the academic in question (myself). At the same time I look at how both visual essays and imagistic writing come to inform the 'artistic' side of the blog; and how this might be perceived in more 'traditional' academic circles. I conclude by speculating upon the shape of things to come, in terms of how horizontally transmitted self-curations might, through archiving practices and other forms of selection, transform themselves into vertically transmitted (temporally grounded) sustainable academic practices."










Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Long Walk to Windsor Castle, Christmas 2013

A performed place meme if there ever was one, The Long Walk to Windsor Castle was part of a longer walk from the Egham train station to Windsor.  This one-way stroll, all on foot, took about 3 hours.  The weather was very fine.  Sights of the day: a muddy Cooper's Hill with a great view of London from near the 'land rights' camp; the view of the castle itself from the 'horse' statue that marks the beginning of the long walk segment proper; and the general jumble of dogs, joggers, and children, less dense towards the statue, but more and more so as one moved away from it.  At the main road it was apparent we were back in the land of tourists, which made the bus ride out of Windsor all the more enjoyable.











Looking back: