The Tourist Map

Over the summer we took a long trip to Costa Rica to learn Spanish. On our second or third day there, some other people at the place we were staying – who were volunteering to teach English at the village school – handed us a map. It turned out that they had already been there for a month and were leaving shortly so they no longer needed it. They had been given this map by another local, who had done the following:

  • printed out a Google map of the village on an 8.5 by 11,
  • put another piece of paper on top of the Google map,
  • used colored pencils to trace and color in the roads,
  • added arrows pointing off the map to show which roads led to which other villages,
  • drew in local restaurants and beaches that he liked and labeled them,
  • drew in local groceries (they are small and numerous there) and labeled them.

The end result was a hybrid between the Google map and a newbie-centered view of the village. It was charming in that the roads and buildings were colored in by hand, the labels were in regular handwriting, and it reflected one person’s view of the local scene. It was useful in that we might not have discovered certain restaurants and it would have taken us much longer to make our own mental maps of the place. It was accurate in that it was based on an accurate base map with proper scale. I guess one might call it a Google Map Mashup on regular, old fashioned, paper.

  1. #1 by Aubrey on August 30, 2010 - 11:19 pm

    That’s so charming! And much prettier than my version. I just draw things right on top of the printed google map when I travel.

  2. #2 by Gretchen on August 31, 2010 - 3:44 pm

    I’ve been known to do the same. :)

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