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Typewriter Cartography (somethingaboutmaps.wordpress.com)
74 points by Jureko on Dec 16, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 7 comments

I spent a lot of time making maps on a ZX81. This involved re-mapping the 64 characters in the character set that could be displayed to my own custom characters in shadow RAM and editing the pixels of each character. This needed an extraordinary amount of tracing paper, graph paper and effort. In those days work had to be saved to cassette tape and any surge of electricity such as turning on the kettle would result in all work lost.

The source of the maps was my school grade atlas, there was also a resource limit on available characters so the end result could have half of Madagascar looking suspiciously like the tip of India (since one of those 64 characters would have to be used for both).

There was just the one TV in the house so everyone else had to put up with no hot beverages or TV whilst I busied myself getting a monochrome 'artists impression' of a map to show on the screen in the living room. There was no commercial ambition involved, no notion of getting my completed code in a magazine, no possibility of sharing my ZX81 maps with the wider world, not least due to the non-standard memory mapping of my ZX81.

As a consequence of this formative childhood experience I truly appreciate these typewriter maps, although I consider the use of online maps and these Adobe products as tantamount to cheating.


(Yep, there were only 64 characters, incredible.)

Your shadow characters must have taken a huge amount of RAM, too. :-)

I have the 16kbyte expansion, very frivolous. Though gotten in modern times. The only contact I had with the system was my uncle who used his ZX81 to heat his home with the cheaper night tariff than the day rate. (Of electricity.)

~ related: "telnet mapscii.me"

"MapSCII is a Braille & ASCII world map renderer for your console - enter => telnet mapscii.me <= on Mac and Linux, connect with PuTTY on Windows"


As a reminder, Apple removed the telnet client from 10.13 in a frustrating exercise of short-sighted security paternalism.

It's so frustrating. No "gopher" either.

brew install telnet


brew install inetutils

nc usually does the trick these days.

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