Monday, June 26, 2006

I Tell You, It's Bloody Narnia

I'm the biggest, stinkiest, most compulsive map geek ever. I love maps, globes (especially the ones that open up into drinks cabinets - super classy!), and books of maps, or Atlases, as absolutely no-one needs explaining. In fact, if the internet was around to any great degree in 1993, you'd have discovered that I was a finalist in the Geography Worldwise quiz and received a mug from Michael Fish as a tribute to my skillz (at this point, my internal monologue troll would point out that all the children got them, but he's somewhat hamstrung by the point that you don't know enough about my backstory to verify the above tale to any great degree. Hah! Take that, manifestation of mild psychosis!).

But I digress. The BBC just unleashed a fake map on my office, bundled in with the FT. Not that this would deter me for long - the fake maps are even better, mythical countries where I can lose what remains of my precious sh*t. Possibly my favourite book ever during childhood was The Journeys Of Frodo which presented the travels of Lord of the Rings as a series of Ordnance Survey-type maps.

But this one made no sense. Like a regular folded map, only none of the countries looked familiar. Until I unleashed the awesome power of google. Through which I found this post, which has disabled comments, and this from Newsday. In them, we learn that the Beeb has created a series of fake maps where, if you step back a bit from them, you discern that the shapes of the countries make out scenes from the news.

At first I thought that this might be a dig at Americans' oft-criticised but actually overstated ignorance of the geography of the rest of the world. But it is in fact just one of those tedious calls to see things from a new perspective. Am I cross that I couldn't make out the figures, that I am maybe a map fundamentalist, or indeed one of those people that never could see the pictures in Magic Eye? Yes to all of the above.

But I will add one observation. BBC World is making its debut in the US on iO, the rebranded digital operation of the sucktastic Dolans' sucktastic Cablevision empire. Cablevision is rather strong in Long Island, hence the interest from Newsday in the stunt. We wish the venture well - during our stints overseas we have come to regard it as a soothing presence - good for summaries of the news, but too heavy on boring magazine programmes and possessed of really boring fillers between the programmes.

But, as this rather perceptive report notes, a BBC World offering would scare the crap out of CNN, which picks up a lot of the more broad-minded news junkies almost by default. Who owns CNN? Time Warner, which also owns Time Warner Cable of New York, serving the rest of the Metropolitan area, as well as its more prosperous urban sections. We'll see whether the FT readers bite.

Oh, and apparently this Atlas of Middle Earth is even better.

Map pinched from here


Post a Comment

<< Home