The world as a canvas

My friend Andres from CMS sent me a map to help him move a desk to his new place and introduced me to an interesting mapping service called quikmaps that lets you doodle on top of a Google Map.

It reminds me of the work of my friend Andrea Di Castro, my computer hero Ken Perlin, and my screenprint mentor Jan Hendrix. Andrea made a GPS based system to record the drawings he has been making with airplanes over the surface of the world, like a trefoil shape the size of Dublin and stuff like that. Ken Perlin has an applet in his collection of online curiosities that lets you zoom as much as you want within a digital drawing and render entire landscapes inside the space between the edges of a line. Hendrix likes to look at a leave as if it was the size of a continent, and makes a map of it accordingly.

Our world feels smaller than the world of our ancestors partially because we can imagine where every single corner on Earth is just by finding it’s position in the globe. How does it feel when we are able to fly over 3 dimensional representations of it, and embed all kinds of content in this representations with any level of precision? I just wonder why there is no social component to the quikmaps application; I can easily see people sharing landmarks, trails, and routes.

Just to get a feel of how this application works I made two map drawings today. It was incredibly easy to manage my maps and embed them in this page, although drawing became a very slow after a few strokes; I’m sure the developers of quikmaps didn’t think somebody would abuse their object model as I did. (Just as a sidenote, Safari 3 doesn’t seem to like quikmaps, it dramatically displaced my drawings by thousands of miles) (As another sidenote, it seems Safari 3 likes quikmaps now).

This is an attack to Mexico City:

And this is a progression of shrinking giants that points to where I used to live in Mexico City, from the size of America to the size of one block.

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