Maps: Interpretation of Past and Future

Maps are not only useful for traveling on a road trip in one’s car. Books, newspapers, websites, journals, and even films can be more fully explained with a complementary map tool. Maps can display geography, temporal variations, interpretation, and a combination of other interface tools like timelines and trees, but they are very different from graphs qualitative information. It is all open to interpretation in its own way, but maps are more open to interpretation and less concise than most other forms of media accessories.

Literary maps are important for the digital humanities. With the emphasis on interpretation and explaining interactive journals or transcribed stories in digital format, as much extra information as possible can be displayed with the help of maps and other visual aids. Franco Moretti discusses the interpretation ability of maps such that hidden patterns can be displayed, but patterns can emulate distance which explains geometry and may be more similar to diagrams. Diagrams use relationships but maps show specific patterns  with geography that makes patterns the way they are. Maps can be used for multiple purposes and a map can show exactly what has happened in the past or it can be modified for others to experience what may have been possible in the past. With gentrification, the map can look ahead to what people might want to see and keep that in mind when recording the most important aspects of a map. The map can be used to look at the past and the future.

As with all other infrastructure online and in print, maps are not perfect. As Franco Moretti mentions, geography cannot explain everything. He says that astrology and theory are more able to display exactly how spatial and temporal organization can change and develop. With examples such as provinces instead of regions or states,  there is a lot of negative space that a map cannot display since the focus would be on what is not there. A lot can still be left to the imagination with a graph or too much can be explained so that one cannot use his or her imagination. Sometimes imagining the distance and the mystery of the visual experience in a story is much more enjoyable than looking at a map. Imagination itself helps keep the memory intact and keeps people’s neural synapses developing. If all visual information is handed to us, then we cannot think outside of the box in abstract ways quite as easily. It is important to think about many different situations in many different ways with different amounts of information for our brain to be able to do various and new acts for challenging itself.

The amazing part of maps is how much one map can explain about a story through obvious further explanation, interpretation, and even subtext. In “Maps” we see that even the shape of a map in a story, such as a rounded path in a village, can display freedom and independence from other forces. There are circular systems of geography and linear ones as well. Some maps can display narrative and fiction in stories or websites or they can emulate actual maps for travel or more information in a non fiction story or website. Maps may be the most comprehensive form of explanation that can be juxtaposed to a story for useful reasons especially in digital humanities. Sometimes facts in timelines or graphs are not as informative or able to emulate an experience as a map. Though maps can be frustrating for those without a strong sense of direction, such as myself, they are crucial for literary technology and digital development.



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