Mapping Workshop – ideas

Some Mapping ideas

Maps are used for:

Way finding

To make visible something previously not visible

To show relationships between things
– spatial
– causal
– ideological
– fanciful
– geological and social etc

To dominate ( European maps of new world)

To demonstrate ownership (cadastral maps)

To persuade or control ( map showing what school you are allowed to send your kids to, depending where you live)

To market or promote. ( example of North Carolina from Denis woods)

The making of a map can be a form of knowledge production ( ie it doesn’t just show something already known , rather it brings a new piece of knowledge into the world )


• Walk for exactly twenty minutes and map everything you see while you are walking.

• Group of three stands in a line side by side and walks to other end of [given space]. Take 30 minutes to reach your destination (have clock visible). Turn and take 30 minutes to walk back. Map your findings.

• Sit still for exactly twenty minutes and map everything you see

• Select an area in the [space] and draw it faithfully. How can this be a map?

• Map out an area and grid it into square metres (use tape measures, and chalk or string to create this grid) and record this. Take a small sample from each square metre and map this.

• Lie down on your back and record movements of people/animals/sun and wind/clouds

• Map all the rubbish in a given area, retain fragments of the rubbish, discard the rest in a bin.

• Select an area, place yourself in the middle of that area and do a continuous contour line drawing, rotating your body 360 degrees as you progress the drawing. Take 6 minutes, turning at a steady rate, to turn the full 360 degrees. Repeat, but now take 12 minutes. Repeat, but now take 24 minutes. Join each drawing end to end to create a 2-D image of the 360 degree view.

• Record all living and dead things in a chosen area

• 1. Map the birds or lizards that inhabit/move through a space and note their behaviour. 2. Intersect the movements of humans, birds and lizards by mapping their paths

• Explore the history of the space. Draw “ghost maps” of the space in different configurations and overlay.

• Grid an area with string or chalk and do a small drawing of something that lies within each grid square

• Create a new “unit of measurement” based on your body. Measure and plot the dimensions of the space using this unit of measurement.

• Calculate how many people could stand shoulder to shoulder in a chosen space. Can you undertake to gather that amount of people to test this idea? Map results, of course.

• Map the acoustic qualities of a space – echo, flat, resonant etc. What are the material properties that give rise to the acoustic properties? Place two people in the space and see how far apart they can stand while carrying on a normal conversation audibly etc. Document findings in a map.

• Draw a map of the area from memory after spending 15 minutes observing the space. (Map should be created in a different place from the space that you’ve observed)

• Surveillance :
a) where can you be seen from when you are in the area? Is there anywhere in that space where you can’t be seen by others?
b) find a place from which you can survey the area without being seen by those below.

• Thought map: map your thoughts as they occur while sitting in a space. Show how one thought leads to another, diverges, connects with something else. (Bonus – map your feelings as they occur in the space. Think about developing a suitable “legend” to represent these on a map)

• Social map: map the sorts of interactions that occur between people in a given location for a set period of time. Note how the location itself impacts on these interactions.

• Meet every ‘dog person’ that walks past. Get them to plot their home on a large format rough map . Get them to plot their walk itinerary.

Eloise Lindeback