Sunday, January 02, 2011

Mapmaking

O Boy has been interested in map making for a while now. He was given an old boat chart of the waters around Petersburg by our former Harbormaster, Jim Stromdahl which he keeps carefully tucked away under his bed for frequent reference. I also found, quite by accident, an amazing book at the library called "The Coastal Mappers." It is the fascinating (and little known) history of a few of the first brave men who risked their lives to make the first maps of the US West Coast. Their maps were quite accurate considering the weather conditions and primitive instruments they were using. It's a fun book to read with beautiful illustrations. As we read it I was reminded of the hundreds and thousands of people in history who we know either little or nothing about; but who worked sacrificially and quietly to bring about great changes or advancements in their areas of skill. It was fun to read about a few of these men and imagine the massive job they undertook, knowing all the obstacles they would face.

Here is one of O Boy's most complex maps so far. It goes along with a story that he retells to all of us every once in a while. He has seen far off in the mountains around our house a tiny structure on one of the peaks. He believes he knows the entire back story to this structure: in it is a man, who looks for fires (and this man has a daughter). There is a fire that is right near where the man's watch tower is, but the man is safe. The map below illustrates some of those events. If you click on it you'll see in the bottom right hand corner "start" which is of course where you start! You go left through the forest, by some lakes. One of the trees in the forest is a Christmas tree which he had me draw a star on the top of. Soon you reach the man's house and shed. You can see just on the other side the huge forest fire is looming! There are several other details in on the map like snow and bear caves. You'll have to enlarge the map to really see the "fine print."




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