My Line

I am from the travelers and the homebodies, from “I promise” and “you can do anything you set your mind to.”

Image source: Steven Gnam on 


OKC Memorial Anniversary

This morning I had the privilege of attending the OKC Bombing Memorial Anniversary ceremony and it was very touching. I found myself thinking a lot and just reflecting on different ideas and thoughts, when suddenly something dawned on me. It is a really very simple concept, but I don’t think I fully accepted it or realized it until this morning.

When the young woman who lost her mother in the bombing when she was just a little girl was telling her story, I realized that there’s no way she could have ever known that her mother would randomly be taken from her life in the blink of an eye. There was no way for her to prepare, no way for her to say good bye, and no way for her to see her one last time. What dawned on me today was that these people were so deeply affected by one single person that they didn’t even know existed. Their entire lives were altered in one single moment by one man that they didn’t know.

It struck me today that my own life could someday be significantly altered for better or for worse by some random person that I don’t even know exists. Yours could too. It seriously blows my mind how each and every single person on this Earth actually does play a significant role in the outcome of our planet’s history. Every choice, big or small, is a tiny action set in motion that can either have a small effect or a huge one. But somehow or another, every choice, every thought, every action that occurs by every single person alive somehow affects everyone else around them whether they know who they are or not.

This realization made me realize that my own actions and choices greatly affect people around me, whether I want them to or not. Whether we choose to or not, we do have an impact. It’s how we choose to use our impact that makes us who we are.

I’ve always been told things like “treat people how you want to be treated,” or “smile; you never know who needs it,” or sayings like that. Instead of merely seeing these things as a common courtesy or a reason to do it just because it’s the “right” thing to do, I now see it as a serious matter. I really should use my personal impact to reflect positively on other people’s lives, because whether I know it or not I could end up greatly altering someone’s life one day. I want to make sure I change someone’s life for the better; not tear someone’s life to shreds.

Secrets of the Oklahoma City Library: Fifth Floor

The purpose of this map was to portray the fifth floor of our school library to make it look more magical or secretive. It’s two-dimensional and pretty simple as far as the shape and layout of it goes. The map is folded in a way so that it has a cover that folds open to reveal the detailed layout of the fifth floor.

I chose the fifth floor of the library because I knew that the AUM students would be coming to our classroom and I wanted to choose a place that they could picture in their mind easily when viewing my map. I made several places magical and also pointed out a couple of things that actually happen in the library. For instance, the ”hidden” staircase that barely anyone uses is actually real and has a beautiful view from the windows. Also, there are “magical” shape-shifting tables in Dr. Hessler’s classroom since every time we have class the tables are arranged differently. Besides that, a few magical things include a portal for time travel in the Archive Room, a door locked with a keypad that leads to the OKC Memorial, paintings that watch everyone, and a lever on a bookshelf that releases knowledge into whoever pulls it.

One aspect of visual rhetoric used in my map is generalization. Since I drew the whole floor of the library, it would be nearly impossible to get every detail right, so the bookcases are long rectangular shapes while chairs are little ovals. They look like basic shapes on their own, but when put within the context of the map it’s fairly easy to tell what they’re supposed to be. If I had tried to draw every individual book  and speck it probably would’ve taken away from the main purpose of the map, which is to make the area magical, but easy to interpret as well.

A Sneak Peek of My Map

This is the cover to what I have of my map so far. It is folded similarly to the Marauder’s Map in Harry Potter, even though I initially didn’t plan for that to happen at all. My first idea was to have a pirate-ish sort of map design, but that fell through and I thought folding my map this way would be pretty interesting. Before this project I didn’t even know that the Marauder’s Map is even from Harry Potter because I haven’t read any of the books (I know, I know…I’m working on it). So I hope I don’t ruin this design for anyone through my map!

This map is made out of paper and is two-dimensional only. The purpose is to describe the fifth floor of the library since that’s where our classroom is and make a magical interpretation of it. I’m also working on this map on my own.

I was initially going to go to the Skirvin and make a map of an area there, but between other homework and getting paperwork filled out for transferring schools, I didn’t have as much time as I had anticipated. Instead, I went with the area that our classroom is located in since I know the AUM students will be in that area for sure during their stay. The library is a place filled with countless amounts of books filled with all kinds of information, so it seemed like the perfect place to be eerie and magical. I’ve included a couple real-life things on the map that are interesting as well. For instance, there are “magical shape-shifting  tables” in our class area because every single day they’re arranged differently. I also included the “hidden staircase” that hardly anyone uses because I finally got around to using it and I never knew there were huge windows to look out of!! So hopefully the students will get to see the cool view from those stairs that are pointed out on my map.

A form of visual rhetoric included in my map is definitely generalization. Since I drew the whole floor of the library, it would be nearly impossible to get every detail right, so the bookcases are long rectangular shapes while chairs are little ovals. They look like basic shapes on their own, but when put within the context of the map it’s fairly easy to tell what they’re supposed to be. If I had tried to draw every individual chair and book it probably would’ve taken away from the main purpose of the map, which is to make the area magical.

Anyhow, I hope whoever ends up getting my map enjoys it, because I’ve ended up putting way much more time and effort into this than I thought I would. It should turn out pretty decently!!

P.S.-The cover looks pretty plain but the inside isn’t as much, I promise!

A Sneak Peek!

I’ve decided to focus my visual analysis paper on the “plain-looking” tan and blue map featured in several of my blog postings. I haven’t decided whether or not to compare it to any other maps, but I don’t think I will because after digging deeper into this map, I’ve realized that there is so much to notice that I probably won’t have enough room to fit it all in my paper.

I’ve combined some writings from my blog postings regarding color and purpose of the map into my paper since they fit well there. Besides that I’ve focused on rhetorical methods used (there are quite a few!) and the overall message of the map.

At first I thought this map was pretty general, but the more I look at it the more I notice the complexities and how every detail is somehow interwoven into the world around us and other pieces of the map. It’s amazing what you can notice after a few minutes studying a map, whether it’s realistic or not.

A Little Comparison

(Note: The images can be enlarged by clicking on them)

At first I thought I was going to have a difficult time finding a map to compare my original choice to since it was so unique, but luckily I found this second one here! The first main difference I get just by looking at the maps is that the second is much more colorful than the first, even though the colors are faded. The added border and depth to the map makes it more appealing at a first glance, and almost suggests that it has more to offer. The varying shades of yellow and green could very well be used to symbolize more information, but by the looks of it that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Taking a closer look at the text, however, is a different story. The first map actually provides real information based off of the size of the different land masses; for instance, a social network that is very popular will be bigger than one that isn’t very well known. The second map merely provides a list of various social networking sites along the border with phrases on the actual map that are more emotional or mental occurrences that happen on the internet, but very little specification of which particular site they happen on or which sites might be more popular. Both give some sort of information regarding social networking, but the first is definitely more factual than the other that seems to be more opinion-based.

If it was possible, the first map’s information would be perfect on the second map’s design. That way it would be more appealing to look at, all while providing accurate, interesting information.  Plus the different colors could assist in displaying the information in a more interesting way instead of making people read an entire map that looks the same the whole way through.

Ahoy, Internet Mateys!

I stumbled upon this map and found it to be quite interesting! At a first glance, this map comes across as something of a joke (especially with a comical sort of font), but when taking a closer look it’s actually informative as well. From what I can tell, this map is intended for anyone that uses the internet or is curious to learn more about the internet. The only thing is, one would have to know what all of these phrases were before they could understand how they relate to the other “land masses” around them. For instance, I had no idea that QQ is a free instant messaging computer program in China, but thanks to this map now I do! This map was made in regards to the Spring and Summer of 2010, so it would be interesting to see a map of 2012’s online community once this year passes and observe the change. The purpose of this map seems to be to simply inform, but in a casual way. This map takes a lot of time to look at since there are so many phrases, but once you read them all you take a step back and feel as though you may have learned something new about the virtual world we spend so much time in.

This map’s use of color is obviously very simple and allows the words to speak for themselves.  At first it seems as though there is nothing much to say about the color choice in this map, but really there is. While reading Chapter 11, I noticed the point that Monmonier makes by saying “among people who like earth tones, a yellow brown sequence would be attractive” (170). Even though this map doesn’t have a range of colors, the earthy tones are easy on the eyes. Monmonier adds that the “least appreciated is a vomit-like greenish yellow” (170). I can’t even imagine trying to read this map in a vomit-like color, let alone try to actually focus and understand what it’s trying to say. The light brown and light hue of blue are gentle enough so that the reader can actually browse the map for an extended period of time without getting a headache. Even though there’s nothing “fancy” on this map in terms of color, there is a lot to be said and learned from.

Narrowing Down the Choices


In case you can’t tell by the map, I’ve narrowed down my choice for the assignment to the OKC National Memorial. To find out more info, feel free to explore here.

Some important aspects able to be seen from the map include the general bird’s eye view. If people were to actually go to the memorial with this map in hand, they’d  have a fairly easy time finding their way around. There are also handy labels and such that will assist in guiding people to wherever they need to go. So if someone says “Hey, let’s go to the Murrah Plaza,” then everyone will know where to go.

On the other hand, the one big thing that is definitely missing from this map is the emotion behind the location itself. The map is very pristine and detailed, but you can’t see the tears and broken hearts of so many people here. The faded, mellow colors do add a more gentle tone. This map definitely doesn’t scream “DISNEY WORLD, LET’S HAVE FUN,” but it doesn’t exactly express the intensity of the emotion behind it. From a first glance it looks like an environment someone might go to in order to relax or ponder life, but not necessarily mourn. You can’t look at this map and know that what you’ll see there might make you cry unless you’ve been there before and experienced it.

Just as Monmonier points out, “small-scale generalized maps often are authored views of a landscape” (42). In this case, someone made this map knowing that it was for a bombing memorial. They took their background information in regards to the location and made a replica of it in the best way they saw fit. “The map is as it is because the map author ‘knows’ how it should look” (42). Whether this is agreeable to most people or not, I’m not sure who knows. It does a very good job at its duty though. For instance, this map cuts straight to the chase. The author clearly wanted the viewer to be able to find their way around without being distracted or led astray. In that type of environment, what’s in front of you is much more of a priority than what’s on the map, so the simple visual fits very well.

Advertising with Maps


I remember seeing these maps all over the place a few years ago. Even at a first glance, Verizon definitely knocks AT&T out of the ballpark with its bright red, nearly covered map. Monmonier makes a point that relates to this advertisement perfectly when he mentions that “the map exploits a simple strategy common to maps in advertising firms with multiple outlets or many far-flung clients: numerousness indicates success, and success indicates a superior product” (68). This is exactly what Verizon is doing with their map. Both companies have tons of locations all around the country, so Verizon displays its superiority by showing its numerous amounts of phone coverage that nearly covers the entire country. AT&T is portrayed as having far less “numerousness” than Verizon, thus meaning AT&T has far less success and superiority.

Monmonier also mentions that “accessibility is particularly important for products needed in a hurry” (64). Cell phones are used almost 24/7, so people are definitely going to want a company that’s easily accessible and provides the most coverage. Looking at the map, even Alaska is covered with Verizon, but AT&T seems to have ignored it. People in secluded areas will see that their small town is more likely to be covered with Verizon’s map, so they’ll probably prefer that company in terms of coverage.

Also, “maps that advertise tend to be more generalized than graphic clarity demands” (58). These maps are both simple outlines of the United States, filled with pixels of colors to show 3G cell phone coverage. Specific cities and districts are not identified, so there’s no way of being sure that the map is accurately shaded in with color. The point of this map is to see the vast difference in Verizon’s 3G coverage rather than AT&T, and the simplified maps make the agenda very easy.

I Used to Use Maps, but Then I Took an Arrow in the Knee

*NOTE: For full effect, please play music from youtube video below.

Maps are wonderful tools to have in life, especially if you’re totally lost. One map I find particularly intriguing would be this:

In case you don’t know, this is a map of Skyrim. Skyrim is part of a role playing game (RPG) video game series called the Elder Scrolls, but I won’t get into that too much. Besides being attached to this place in my very sparse spare time, the map itself is incredibly visually appealing. What I find to be so intriguing about it is the fact that it’s three dimensional. You can actually see the snow-capped mountains, streams, hills, and even the clouds while you search for your next destination. Plus, different locations are associated with different symbols, so it’s well organized.

This map also happens to remind me a lot of our map activity in class on Monday. We used a highlighter to identify places we knew well and crayons/pens to suggest places for other people to visit. While playing Skyrim, your map is updated for you. Places you know well appear and are easily accessible (highlighter), while places you’ve heard of in your conversations with other characters appear for you to look into further (pen).

This map also pertains to How to Lie With Maps,because in a way it does its own sort of advertising. Throughout the game you receive different objectives, and on the map the locations correlating with your objectives tend to be larger and more apparent to catch your attention more than other standard locations.

To complete your Skyrim experience, feel free to delight your ears with this eloquent sound: