27 April 2010


Ok, let me set the scene... The sense of smell is closely tied to memory and emotion - Its a powerful way to reinforce ideas.  So its not such a crazy idea then that at the Headspace symposium; architects, scientists and artists fervently discuss the real impact of scent.
But its maps that we're interested in here, and fortunately for us there are a few sites around the world that are already spatially collating olfactory observations. For example, the Great British smell map or Olfactory Factory use Google Maps to pinpoint the locations of many wacky smells such as vomit, feet, clean air or goat.

All this may seem interesting but 'are they really smell maps?' I hear you ask.
'Dont they still just operate in a visual way?'
Enough of the questions already because Digiscents have invented iSmell, a prototype USB device that plugs into your computer and emits certain smells depending on what you're looking at. So now, our simple geotagged scents literally begin to stink.

In 1999 Wired Magazine's review of the device stated that "if this technology takes off, it's gonna launch the next Web revolution"  Sadly though, it didn't, and in 2001 DigiScents went bankrupt.

However, their dream endures, in me, and now... in you!

In the meantime though perhaps you can imagine enjoying the sensory overload of this bee's wax map

Smell ya later!

20 April 2010


For far too long now we mappy people have been obsessed with the visual realm, but maps can definitely touch us in many other (appropriate) ways.  Why not touch them back?

Braille maps for instance are so important to the everyday life of blind people. Thats right, Braille maps.  Have a Listen as to why.
If you're still really interested, maybe visit this list.

But the real show stopper, in my opinion, is this portable tactile GPS unit

'Fantastic new and improved idea' I hear you exclaim?! Hardly! Ancient peoples have long been mapping their world in a less visual orientated way.  For example, there are these rad Inuit tactile/night maps of coastlines.
And in honour of our current Icelandic volcanic situation, check out artist Shannon Rankin's eruptive maps

13 April 2010


What does the internet look like? You tell me by choosing from any of the of the fun little maps that people have in their heads when they enter in to, and return out of, the intangible ether that is.. the internet (dom dom domm).
If you want, you too can take part in this collabrative effort, which I guess can only be described as 'folk cartography'.  Folkin' cartography, folk yeah!!!  Or, if you prefer your mapping musings of the slightly more quantitative kind, The Opte Project may appeal to you! Either way though, the internet still ends up looking like its formed by a bunch of hippy design school kids on acid.

PS I also like some of the definitions described by urban dictionary.com.  ie the internet is "A vast tundra of knowledge, now corrupted and slowly imploding on itself."

06 April 2010


I'm not sure why I find this week's entry so fun - I guess there is a sort of youthful exuberance about the way in which these maps overlay the Terra Firma that they were created from - almost like a child dressing up in their parents' clothes. Hopefully, you too, can find some mapping merriment in Laurens Van Wieringen's foam-bar map or Seyed Alavi's woolen 'flying-carpet' map.