Friday Mapping Assignments: A Review

Throughout this semester, I have had a love/hate relationship with the Friday Mapping Assignments. I am, as my mother affectionately says, “technologically challenged,” so learning the ropes of My Maps was not easy for me. Until March break, I would email Kyle every single week to let him know when my map was completed and ready to upload to the website, as I thought that he did it manually. Turns out, he doesn’t and i’d been bombarding his inbox for no reason (oops!). Despite some minor hiccups, I began enjoying rehashing my week every Thursday evening or Friday, and I feel that I could better incorporate my personality into my later maps once I got the hang of the program.

As I browsed through the rest of the classes maps, I noticed huge stylistic differences across the board. While some students operated in layers, others added on to the same map every week and used symbols or descriptions to designate time. Some students walked through their layers day by day, while others gave a comprehensive sweep of the week. My maps tended to focus mostly on text and description of where I went and why, whereas other people’s used symbols or photos. In one of Sarah’s maps, for example, she showed that she spent a majority of her week at Hamilton and then went to Boston for a part of it – something I do every other week. While our maps were almost identical in terms of location,  they differed greatly visually. Sarah used concise headlines and varying colorful symbols to designate what she was doing at each location.  Mine, on the other hand, used the same symbol and color for each location but incorporated textual descriptions of every location. My descriptions, however, ultimately conveyed the same type of information as Sarah’s images.

The differences in our approaches speak to the many different roles, methods, and intentions behind mapping. I found that creating and comparing a semester’s worth of maps illustrates a major theme for this course; differences in interpretation. All of the texts that we have read have been about interpreting and communicating the unknown, and we, as readers, have been tasked with interpreting the maps in front of us.

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