Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Pointless Map Post

Needing some content here to mark the end of the quiz, and not having written much lately, I have nothing to offer you except two scraps from the map file.

The first one comes from, of all places, my alumni magazine. Say what you like about the University of Oregon, it has what must be one of the best alumni magazines anywhere. There are actually interesting articles and stuff.

The map, by an Oregon student, is based on data from Eric Weiner's The Geography of Bliss, and purports to show levels of "subjective well being." Denmark ends up taking the prize, with Switzerland right behind. A disappointing showing for Estonia, but things are not at all bad for me and my happy countrymen here in the United States of America. Apparently.

Speaking of the United States of America, here's a quilted map of that country from the 2001 book The Art of the Quilt. It is what at first appears to be a well-made coffee table book, until you start noticing that many of the captions don't seem to have much to do with the photographs they are next to. Then, there's this gem:

The quilt was apparently made in the year VXXLCCCD. Even upside-down, it's kind of fun to see the unbroken Dakota Territory. But then, I'm both a quilt dork and a map dork; it might not be such a thrill for you.


Rebel said...

I think Thailand ranks up their on the bliss-o-meter too.

Is that map-quilt supposed to be backwards?

Cartophiliac said...

I take exception to the title of your post.

Maps are never pointless!

Cartophiliac said...

OMG! Your Beavers Rock!

d said...

i wonder where the bliss-o-meter would put america now?

the backwards quilted weirdo america was not as much of a thrill for me, but that's ok.

i agree carto—maps are never pointless.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

There's nothing like quilts and maps. Or hookers and Jaeger. Either way.

Dan Nolan said...

I wonder what a state breakdown of subjective happiness in the US would look like.

Anonymous said...

The United Nations, as part of its annual report on the Human Development Index, ranks countries according to "quality of life", which is based on such categories as adjusted real income, life expectancy, and educational attainment. The 2006 report (based on 2004 findings), lists the top ten in order:

1 / Norway
2 / Iceland
3 / Australia
4 / Ireland
5 / Sweden
6 / Canada
7 / Japan
8 / U.S.A.
9 / Switzerland
10 / Netherlands

and the bottom ten:

1 / Niger
2 / Sierra Leone
3 / Mali
4 / Burkina Faso
5 / Guinea-Bissau
6 / Central African Republic
7 / Oregon
8 / Chad
9 / Ethiopia
10 / Burundi

Anonymous said...

The Geography of Happiness would be a great title for something else too. Actually many things. I am happier just thinking about the possibilities.

Oh, I can see the dual appeal of the quilt easy peasy. It would be neat to have one personalized with little markers of where a person lived or where the family was situated. Actually, it does have a triple appeal if you count history.

Michael5000 said...

@Reb: It clearly ranks up there on YOUR bliss-o-meter.

No. It is not supposed to be backwards.

@d: Well, ~I'm~ still pretty blissed out. But then, I'm on the West Coast.

@Dr. Ken: An excellent analogy.

@Dan: According to the standards given, it would likely look like a sad South and relatively happy everyplace else. Which hits the nail on the head for me personally, but might not jibe so well with your average inhabitant of, say, Meridian, Mississippi.

@Karma: True. But that was before the OSU/USC game.

@Boo: I've seen a couple cartobiographical quilts before. I've just stuck with straight cartographic quilts, myself.