Our Maps, Ourselves

By Staff
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Today is a boom time for maps. With the advent of Google Earth and the proliferation of GPS technology, mapmaking has become an art of political and personal expression, according to a recent article for In These Times. Maps today depict more than simple topography: One imagines a melding of the U.S. east and west coasts, while others visualize the interconnections between political bloggers (marked as red and blue for their political affiliations) and trace the movements of planes involved in the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program.

There are also numerous scientific efforts to chart the natural world, Science and Spirit reports, influenced in part by the far-reaching Human Genome Project. These include the Allen Brain Atlas, which maps genes in the brains of mice, and the Encyclopedia of Life, an attempt to document Earth’s biodiversity. Both of these projects offer massive amounts of information online for free.

Although these cartographic efforts are impressive, there is, I think, a towering mapmaking achievement that stands above them all. Based on rapper Ludacris’s 2001 single, “Area Codes,” which cites his many “hos in different area codes,” a skilled cartographer has tendered a map of those very same locales. Now we know where Ludacris’ ladies at.

Michael Rowe

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