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Death Of The GPS: Mapagramming The World

”We’re proud to have Petter Hanberger crash the Betongelit Blog, reporting from the streets of Boulder, Colorado”

”Do I need a car in Boulder?” The answer was ”No, you can get around by bike without any problems.” Before my second visit to this country I’d never heard of Boulder and obviously I had no idea how big or small this town was.

It might be really interesting to discuss how the people of Boulder refuse to broaden the highway between Denver and Boulder with a few more traffic lanes, how Boulder citizens were first in the country to vote for a tax to buy, manage and maintain open space land in order to protect parks and trails from development. I could tell you about how Boulder in 1971 adopted a 55 foot height limit for new buildings or how their B-cycle bike sharing program has emerged during the last few years. However, for this post, I won’t dig any deeper into those topics. I’m just very pleased to be in a small town with mountains smiling at me through the window when I wake up in the morning. I appreciate how easy it is to get around in this town, how walkable and bikeable it is but most of all I’m delighted how doable it is to draw a map of my every day life in Boulder. Me and hand-drawn maps have a good relationship, and it started four years ago, during my first US visit.

I was cruising Mulholland Drive in my red sports-like-car. I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard, posing with various celibrities outside the Kodak Theatre. I went to Venice beach, spotting celebrities throwing a frisbee. I drank a whole lot of Orange Mocha Frappuccinos, bought a bunch of really cool t-shirts. But most of the time I spent driving around the enormous city, and thanks to an amazing GPS I could cruise pretty much wherever I wanted, without any worries or responsibilities so to speak. Which made sense, after all I was in ”the land of the free” and anybody who’s ever been to LA knows it’s a city where you’re a nobody without a car. I turned up the music while that feeling of cruising-in-your-car-freedom was just getting a hold of me. That’s when my GPS went black. Right in the middle of somewhere in a very dark LA.

I still don’t know what part of the city I was in, but I know I was saved by a good ol’ pencil with which someone drew me a map on a pink piece of paper.

This life changing experience not only made me prefer smaller cities before big ones but also to forever respect and love the power of hand-drawn maps. To be honest those are the only maps I trust and I’ve been trying to save them ever since as well as contributing to creating more (even if it’s mostly mind maps). The above map is the most recent, drawn using the very subjective method called memory and showing more or less my everyday life, or downtown Boulder. And as drawing maps is a very contemplative activity, the idea started growing of a collectively and co-created drawn map of the world. It might be as simple as drawing directions to the nearest grocery store for a stranger or trying to draw all the US states from memory or even a mind map of ideas to come. They all count and could eventually all together make a pretty nice and interesting map of the world. Perhaps even the coolest I could possibly think of.

I have no idea where this is going but I’m gonna start submitting my part of the world to submit@mapagram.org or perhaps tweet it to @mapagram.
I’d be more than happy if you would do the same.


“Hi, can I crash on your blog?” – Blog surfing by Petter Hanberger
This is the story of my Boulder experience, and it’s a tiny experiment in collaborative communication or cross pollination, or guest blogging if you like. I’m hoping to find a new blog to crash each week, and contribute with a post that’s relevant for the specific host. If you have a blog I could crash, please let me know.

Stay tuned.
/PH

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