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Inuit Tactile Maps of Greenland (2017) (amusingplanet.com)
46 points by walterbell 7 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 4 comments

I unfortunately cannot find them online, but in the UK canal maps used to be illustrated on either a long fold-out card, or a roll of paper, a bit like a toilet roll or scroll, or some meter long folded strip. These were straight, even though the canal would weave and veer through the countryside keeping the water level whilst it routed around hills.

When I stayed with my father in my youth on a canal boat, he'd translated one of those maps onto a rope with knots. A bit like how you'd measure speed with a rope and knots, but in his case the rope was much shorter and different knots marked different features. i.e. a single knot was a lock, a double knot a pub, a different type of knot a significant bridge.

For him it was just a fun thing to do, but I marvelled that a few metres of rope condensed a very long canal (days travelling time) into something that could tell you where you were just by thinking about the landmark you'd most recently passed and the one coming up. Even if it was repetitive you'd find yourself in a little while.

A rope could be a map.

This is obviously easy when it's a fixed path, a canal, but it shares an echo of the inuit map as I suspect their path followed a natural fixed route through the geography of the land.

If you found this interesting, here is another cool map technology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Islands_stick_chart

This is possibly the coolest cartographic concept I've ever heard of. Humans never cease to amaze.


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