Project Proposal- Anna

September 27, 2017

Description & Overview

Lowhead Dams are “deceptively dangerous” in both populated areas where they can cause death for human beings as well as disrupting the ecological balance in waterways and rivers where they have been built. “Ohio has an abundance of these killers on rivers throughout the state. Over the years, houseboats, fishing vessels, powerboats, sailboats, PWC, and canoes have all fallen victim to lowhead dams.”  In Recent years, two brothers died after being caught in the powerful churn of the Dodridge Street dam in Columbus. Advocates for public safety and wildlife want these dams removed. The dam removal projects are expensive and complicated.  In today’s economic climate it is difficult for any city, state or the federal government to allocate the money needed to remove the dams and to restore the riverways concerned.

Figure 1 : Water Flow Logistics in a Low-Head dam (

Lowhead dams can range from a 25-foot drop-off to a mere six-inch drop-off. Some dams are very wide and others not wide at all. Importantly though, how water moves through lowhead dams are the same regardless of the size of the dam. Most people associate danger with a dam having a significant drop off and fast-flowing water. However, people do not realize that the danger is just as catastrophic with a two- or three-foot dam face and a moderate flow of water.

Figure 2 : Mockup of waterflow that affect people falling tinto a lwhead dam watershed make it almost impossible to escape the lowhead dam hydrolics.

Danger is present both above and below a lowhead dam. Water flowing over a drop forms a hole or hydraulic chrning at the base that trap objects washing over the drop. The backwash or recirculating current is formed below the dam. Once swept over the dam, a victim becomes trapped and is forced underwater, pushed away from the dam, then circulated to the top. The circulating motion then repeats the cycle over and over again as the individual is drawn back against the base of the dam. Low head or run-of-river dams, are then a real safety hazard to people because they have “dangerous recirculating currents, large hydraulic forces, and other hazardous conditions sufficient to trap and drown victims immediately downstream from the overflowing water” as discussed above. Riverways are now increasing public recreational areas. So, large “numbers of kayakers, canoers, rafters, boaters, anglers, and swimmers are often unaware of, or underestimate, the dangerous forces and currents that these dams or similar hydraulic structures can produce if there are no warning signs, restricted area postings, boat barriers or bypass portages”.  Statistics from ohio indicate more than 21 or more deaths occurr per year because of dams, five states have these kind of fatality rates, Ohio is one of the five states.

Many Low head dams have been constructed sine the 1800’s that are basically uncontrolled spillways. They were traditionally constructed across rivers and streams to raise water levels “for improving municipal and industrial water supplies, producing hydropower, feeding navigation canals, and diverting irrigation water”.  “Tens of thousands were built in the 1800s to power gristmills and small industries”.  At present , many have been abandoned and are dangerous to the public.  Also the reasons for which the lowhead dams were constructed are redundant.

This project proposal concerns specifically the lowhead dams present in the Olintangy River system in the Delaware, Dublin and Columbus region of Ohio.  The proposal will consider the history of issues associated with the lowhead dams. The writeup will also include the current status of the riverway from ecological, public safety, economic and political points of view.

 

Outline of project

I – Introduction

  1. Definition and description of Lowhead Dams.
  2. Lowhead dams in national context.
  • Perspective on Lowhead dams specific to the Olintangy Riverway in Columbus, Ohio

 

II – Dams associated with the Olintangy Riverways

  1. 5th avenue lowhead Dam – Olintangy River
  2. Mainstreet dam – Scioto River
  • Delaware County lowhead Dam removal
  1. Dams that have not been removed
  2. Existing Issues/Problems with remaining Dams in the Delaware/Columbus/Dublin Geographical area

 

III – Conclusions

 

IV – References

 

 

 

 

Annotated bibliography

 

  1. http://epa.ohio.gov/Portals/47/media/olentangy_2010/lowhead_dam_removal.pdf

 

A fact sheet cataloging ecological and anthropological problems associated with low-head dams in Ohio, and citing specific reasons why they need to be removed.  The fact sheet also catalogs public safety problems that can happen when the owhead dam is targeted for removal. sheet highlights many of the problems associated with lowhead dams and the benefits of dam removal.

 

 

  1. Navarro, John. “School of Environment and Natural Resources.” Benefits of Dam Removal on the Olentangy River | School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University, School of Environment & Natural Resources, 2017, senr.osu.edu/about-us/multimedia/benefits-dam-removal-olentangy-river.

 

Video delineating the problems with lowhead dams and what the benefit to the environment will be if these dams are removed. Discusses the efforts of the Ohio State University in this endeavor.

 

  1. Tschantz, Bruce A. “Low Head Dams.” Bruce A. Tschantz, P.E., Bruce A. Tschantz, Consulting Engineer, 2013, http://www.safedam.com/low-head-dams.html.

This website discusses the dangers of lowhead dams.  Th website also provides national statistics and links to human deaths due to lowhead dams in the USA.  Public safety regulations and needs are also discussed.

 

  1. Ringley, Byron, and Travis White. “5 Th Avenue Dam Removal & Lower Olentangy River Ecosystem Restoration Project.” ohiowea.org/docs/5th_Ave_OWEA_4-4-13.pdf.

Graphic presentation of project management of 5th Avenue Dam Removal & Lower

Olentangy River Ecosystem Restoration Project

 

  1. Ringley, Byron. “Unlocking a River’s Potential.” 5th Avenue Dam Removal & Olentangy River Restoration – Stantec, Stantec, 2014, http://www.stantec.com/our-work/projects/united-states-projects/-/5-avenue-dam-removal-olentangy-river-restoration.html#.Wcp4d4qQz5U.

 

Final project report on the completion of the 5th avenue lowhead dam removal and restoration of the riverway.  This report includes the actual time line needed for project completion as well as the total cost associated with the entire project.

 

  1. Ferenchik, Mark. The Columbus. “Olentangy’s Low-Head Dams Deemed Too Costly to Remove.” The Columbus Dispatch, The Columbus Dispatch, 23 Apr. 2015, http://www.dispatch.com/article/20150423/news/304239755.

 

Report on the remaining dams on the Olintangy River in the Columbus, Ohio area.  Includesprojected costs of project and political discussion of the project.

 

  1. GALLICK, THOMAS. ThisWeek Community. “Plan to Remove Dams Held Back No Longer.” ThisWeek Community News, ThisWeek Community News, 18 May 2015, http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/stories/delaware/news/2015/05/15/olentangy-river-plan-to-remove-dams-held-back-no-longer.html.

 

Report on Delaware County Dam removal projects.

 

Gibson, Russ. “Restoration Efforts Improve Aquatic Life in Olentangy River.” http://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-10/documents/oh_olentangy.pdf.

 

Report on the work completed through the Olentangy River Restoration Project, specifically in the city of Delaware, Ohio and in Delaware county.  The article discusses original assessments used to target the four dams that were removed.  The article also discusses environmental aspects and financial aspects of the dam removal over time from 1999 to the final assessment of approximately three miles of

the Olentangy River.

 

picture

http://www.trailheadmontana.net/2015/3267/

ohio lowhead dams

http://watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/lowheaddams

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Project Proposal- E. Wyatt

September 27, 2017

On Reclaiming Ohio Wesleyan’s Student Garden: converting a neglected weed patch into a sustainable green study space

 

Project Participant(s): Evelynn Wyatt

 

Description & overview of project: I will be creating a plan and proposal for the creation of a perennial garden and green study spcae in the vacant green lot behind the observatory. I will submit a garden design blueprint, specific plant list, and written project description to B and G. This plan and proposal will be submitted to B and G during this semester and planting will ideally begin in the spring.  I will be relying heavily on the guidance and information provided by Dustin Braden, an OWU student who created a student garden at his high school, and Dale Miller, the owner of Miller Nursery who has a great deal of experience working with garden design in the Ohio climate. I will be applying for a SIPP grant to fund planting and outdoor furniture/garden fixtures. I will also be using SLU House Funds and will likely market the garden as an OWU community outreach program. If the project is approved I will be seeking student volunteers and will hopefully find an underclassman capable and desiring of continuing work and maintenance on the garden upon my graduation.

 

Outline of project:

My final project will consist of the following items:

-Copy of B and G proposal

-Copy of SIPP Grant Application(s)

-Garden Layout Plans

-Plant List

-Project Goals and Next Steps Document

-Plan for Continued Maintenance of the Garden

The above will be bound in a binder and I will create a visual presentation of the above work I’ve finished this semester.

 

Annotated bibliography

“Calm active and focused: Children’s responses to an organic outdoor learning environment,” Sonya Nedovic, Anne-Marie Morrissey

The authors of this study found that children exposed to organic/natural learning environments experienced “richer imaginative play; increased physical activity; calmer, more focused play; and positive social interactions.” I would use this resource and other peer-reviewed studies in order to bolster my proposal for B and G as to why and how this garden would benefit students.

 

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plans/easy/tough-as-nails-perennial-garden-plan/

This source provides a garden design plan that relies heavily on perennial plant species. It includes a plant list and a physical blue print and is only 12×12 feet in area which would make it an excellent fit for the space outside of the observatory.

 

https://www.ilonasgarden.com/how-to-garden-in-ohio/

This source provides a wealth of information about Ohio soils, climate, precipation, and wind patterns. It also lists plant recommendations and tips for maintaining an Ohio garden during the winter months.

 

http://www.cotswoldgardeningschool.co.uk/student-success-cotswold-gardening-school.html

This site provides links to a variety of garden projects that have been successfully carried out by college students. It will provide a good place for me to begin with sketching/laying out the space.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/profile/caroline-knight

This is the blog of a current garden design student and it contains a wide variety of useful posts about beginning gardening.

 

https://longwoodgardens.org/gardens/browse-all-gardens

This garden hires college students to design, create, and maintain its gardens. This is another useful source for providing inspiration and specific plant ideas.

 

http://www.sustainableaged.org/projects/student-farms/

This organization provides a list of all current student gardens across the U.S. I will focus on looking at the Midwestern gardens to determine what species and layouts have worked best for this area of the united states.

 

https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/20-perennial-vegetables

This source was recommended to me by Emily Howald. It contains a list of perennial vegetables that typically do well in all climates and need little maintenance. Adding vegetables to the perennial garden could increase overall appeal.

 

https://ofbf.org/2013/02/06/top-edible-picks/

This was another source recommended by Emily and it contains a specific list of Ohio edible perennial plants. It also contains contact information for several Ohio garden writers and nursery owners that I could potentially reach out to.

 

http://inhabitat.com/7-easily-propagated-fruits-for-transforming-your-backyard-into-a-food-forest/

This source was also provided by Emily and it contains a variety of fruit plants that are perennial and require little maintenance. I beleive ruit would provide an even greater incentive for student use than vegetables.

 


Presentation on Chapter 5 and 6 of “Nature”

September 27, 2017

Chapter 5, The World Beyond Europe

02-lone-cypress-pebble-beach.jpg“Lone Cypress stands as a peerless monument to capitalism’s bid to privatize, incorporate and commodify nature-whether as lumber or designer label.”

 

American Indians and ecological sainthood

Environmentalists who idolize the hunter-gatherer lifestyle argue that “settled agriculture yielded a surplus facilitating the accumulation of wealth, from which flowed the evils of social hierarchy, slavery, patriarchalism, and commerce, as well as the disparaging of the wilderness.”

“Dead, inert and despiritualized in the European mind, nature as conceptualized by the Indian pulsated with vitality, enjoyed consciousness and was saturated with the divine principle.”

  • Where have you seen this stereotype of Native Americans enacted? Why has it persisted for so many centuries?

Head-Smashed-In_18-640x873.jpg

Aboriginal transformations of the natural world

Coates sites a study in which a group of geographers found that “the physical environment of the New World bore heavier human traces in 1492 than it did in the mid-1700s, before mass immigration from Europe.”

  • Native Americans were highly agricultural, practiced extensive cultivation, and used vegetation burning as a strategy for clearing land.

Nature and nationalism

“The United States developed a moralistic, republican version of nature that went far beyond the aesthetics of scenery.”

“Nature was a vital cohesive force in a country that lacked the glue of ethnic, religious, and racial homogeneity.”

“The American identification of freedom and independence with wild nature produces fear that the values of nationalism itself will be damaged if you destroy the symbols of nationalism because they depend on embodiment in tangible objects.”

As a nation, we are perhaps more diverse than ever. Does a shared, nationalistic alliance to nature continue to act as the “glue” that holds us together? Can you think of any example that either prove or disprove this point?

 

Chapter 6, Nature as Landscape

Ronald Hepburn- We perceive and evaluate natural objects and objects of art differently.

  • Aesthetic experience of nature involves immersion rather than detachment.
  • Whereas a piece of art is framed, nature is frameless and offers more scope for the individual imagination because it has not been deliberately created.
  • The question of seeing what the artist intended us to see does not arise; the perceiver provides the frame.
    • In what ways are art and nature similar? How do they differ aside from the above reasons?
    • Do you agree with Hepburn’s argument?

 

Landscape- a place created by the interaction of human and environmental processes

  • English conceptions about landscape were a product of paintings by Dutch and Flemish artists from the 16th and 17th centuries

hb_19.164.jpgPieter Brueghel

Rubens_Milkmaids_cattle_landscape.jpgPeter Paul Rubens

The conceptualization/creation of landscape lead to “competition for control over the definition and use of nature”.

Nature as landscape of leisure: eighteenth-century parks and gardens

“Landscapes of leisure were no more innocent and no less enclosed than the landscapes of agricultural progress. The privatization of nature was particularly evident in the conversion of woodland into hunting estates.”

“Manicured aesthetic of nature”

“Refined taste in landscape, as in architecture, was informed by a mechanistic conception of nature as a well-regulated and predictable system that functioned in accordance with laws stemming from a supreme intelligence”

b3b48f06f13540cb28c0ce5c7e537455.jpgThe gardens of Versailles “signified the triumph of culture over a self-willed natural world as emphatically as the sprouting factories and urban tenements.”

  • Should we view garden design as another example of the commodification nature? Does the fact that gardens contain natural elements prevent them from being seen as entirely artificial? Are you more in favor of the preservation of national parks or the preservation of city gardens/green spaces?

Collin Nature Response 2

September 27, 2017

Reading Response:

The second section of Coates’s Nature struck an odd tone, for it seemed significantly more eclectic than the first half of the book. Indeed, the historical progression of nature’s perception was abandoned in favor of an assorted look at how differing ideologies process and address our relationship to the land. Of course, the only thing that appears consistent is that humanity’s treatment of “nature,” no matter how eco-friendly it seems, is merely a reflection of ourselves. To speak of nature is to indulge oneself in anthropocentrism. In part of his lengthy discussion on enclosures and landscapes, Coates offhandedly states that “A ‘place’ was not found, but made” (Coates 115). Here, he is referring to the historical reservation on acreage in Britain for leisurely purposes as opposed to exploitation for natural resources. The point, however, is that regardless of how that acreage is used, it is still an expression of human dominion. Still, at least this acknowledgement can be admired, for it is self-aware and authentic. If one is to practice landscaping, it is far better to embrace the style of Henry Hoare II, with his infused statuary and classicism, than that of Capabilities Brown’s pastoralism. At least the former openly admits, by way of design, that it is an artifice which reflects the inclinations of its demiurge.

This embossment of personal predilections or ideologies on the landscape obviously exceeds the realm of gardening. In demonstration of a more impactful example than landscaping, Coates brings attention to the unsteady relationship between socialism and environmentalism. He uses numerous examples, and many indicate socialism’s tendency to advocate for a position of human dominance. Marx thought that “natural resources should be managed on a sustainable basis,” while Engels noted that “The earth’s surface, climate, vegetation, fauna, and the human beings themselves have changed, and all this owing to human activity” (Coates 149). In the situations where mankind is compared to nature, as Kropotkin did in his defense of mutual cooperation, nature is still subordinate to a specific outcome for humans. In this case, nature merely served as a means for justifying an ideology. Although not necessarily socialist in nature, the deep ecology movement is also paradoxically anthropocentric. As Coates puts it, “deep ecologists deny humans any rights over nature” (Coates 154). To even discuss rights in conjunction with “nature,” one must impose a kind of framework for adjudicating rights. In turn, denying rights to humans in respect for nature is left up to human powers, who must enforce it somehow. In order to enforce it, however, it must have some jurisdiction over nature in order to keep it segregated, much as how the police will enforce a restraining order. However, the entire framework of rights is, albeit debatably, a human-forged illusion, and by introducing rights with nature as the defendant, the deep ecologist is engaging in a kind of legal or ideological oppression of nature. By even seeking to rid oneself of any authority over the natural world, one is condemning oneself to defining it. That is to say, shaping what nature is into one’s own vision, and this is the embodiment of authority.

Admittedly, this post has been a bit of a ramble, though it does express some of my thoughts on the many things Coates introduced throughout the book. The largest takeaway from Nature is, I think, the question of whether or not the construction of “nature” is a discursive or recursive phenomenon. Do we ever consult the natural world when we are imprinting our ideologies, the latter, or do we blindly imprint ideologies in succession over time, the former? To put it another way: does the signifier, us, ever consult the signified, nature, over the sign, “nature”? Ultimately, I don’t think we do, or I think that the process of creating nature is always a discursive process. We don’t continually reflect on the current state of affairs of nature when discussing “nature.” After all, we’ve already been inculcated with enough ideologies that have already determined what “nature” is for us, the real nature aside.

Environmental News:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/shortcuts/2017/sep/18/octlantis-the-underwater-city-built-by-octopuses

Scientists have acquired evidence that a certain species of octopus, octopus tetricus, actually builds so-called “cities” in the ocean. These “cities” are described as artificial reefs comprised of clam and scallop shells, which were fashioned into dens for the octopuses to occupy. Apparently, however, these octopuses are quite quarrelsome, for they will frequently try to evict their neighbors from their respective dens.


Zak Hill Week 6 Coates: Nature Part 2 Response

September 27, 2017

Response: 

The second part of Coates’s novel Nature was very interesting, and brought a lot of new ways of thinking about our relationship to nature.  I thought the most interesting point of this section was about how when white Americans first discovered the Yosemite valley the Native Americans were already utilizing the natural features of the valley to their fullest potential.  He brings up many points about America’s romanticism with nature, and how views of conservation have affected our relationship with nature.  In this section, he talks about how Native Americans used the land to the fullest potential but still knew to only use enough that could be sustainable for the environment around them.  This is in stark contrast to the case of Easter Island which I learned about in my GEOG 347 class, where the natives overused the natural resources of their environment, and it inevitably drove them to ecological suicide.   This view that they are responsible for the well-being environment makes sustainable practices easy, and commonplace.  He also describes nature as giving us a scope of imagination, but natural scenes are framed because it paints a picture for the viewer of what nature is rather than experiencing it for themselves.  National parks are viewed in this way because the social construct of what constitutes a national park has been painted in our heads instead of deciding what nature means to ourselves.  In Nature, some are said to feel a sense of sublime, but Immanuel Kant said that you must feel an internal sense of horror to understand the sublimeness of nature.  I feel insignificant when I am out in nature, that if I was not there, it would still continue to exist.  The vastness of diversity in nature is amazing and never ceases to strike my wonder.  However when you account for population, and everyone’s impact on the environment there lies the sustainability problem.  Then when our society tells that gaining success is through acquiring land we are left with how to conserve what parts of the environment we haven’t yet touched.

I thought his point about the economy affecting our relationship with the environment was a very intriguing point, and had a lot of validity.  He attributes part of the reason of social injustice with nature stems from the social construct of nature as property.  He claims that the privatization of land is solely for the rich to enjoy the spoils fo being in nature.  That wealth is an inequitable standard of claiming land.  The way our economy works, and the way people acquire success is through material gain. You can acquire material gain through claiming land.  The idea that you can claim the land as yours, and privatize the land for selfish purposes is the exact difference between our society today, and the Native Americans.  People believe that we only just started affecting the natural world around us around the time of industrialization, but Coates argues that we have been affecting the environment since the start of time.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/energy-environment/maryland-suing-epa-on-power-plant-pollution-in-other-states/2017/09/27/660e0fde-a3ac-11e7-b573-8ec86cdfe1ed_story.html?utm_term=.f0c50f346d34

For this weeks news article, I found mine in the  Washington Post, and it is about my home state.  Maryland is currently suing the EPA for not placing emissions restrictions or pollution reductions in five upwind states from Maryland including Ohio.  They are suing them because, “They did nothing.”  States like Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia and Ohio have 36 power plants that are sending harmful emissions down into Maryland via the wind.  These states are all upwind of Maryland and their pollution is in violation of The Good Neighbor Provision.  Back in July, the original extension of the implementation of this act expired, and these states did nothing to reduce their impacts from these plants.  I just thought this article was interesting because it was about both places I call home, and will have a large impact on the policy that regards the environment around me.

 

 

 


Miranda: Project Outline

September 27, 2017

Mapping Running Trails in Delaware and Surrounding Areas

Project Participant(s): Miranda Gumbita

Description & overview of project: Central Ohio has a large running community with an expansive trail system. While many of these trail systems have maps that can be accessed online, they are extremely basic and not continually updated as the trail systems are. A great deal of information on local trails and where to access them is passed around by word of mouth. This project will focus on creating a detailed map of these trail systems. This map will include the overall map of each trail section, along with GPS coordinates of every access point along the trail. This expansive map of trails will then be made to the public in an easily accessible way. Through this, I hope to give the local community an easy way to locate and enjoy their local trails.

Outline of project:

  • Project description
  • Trail mapping process
  • Comprehensive map of trails and their access points
  • Information about trails being expanded in the future
    • October 4th at 6pm: Attend open house to view plans for new park along Pollock Road

Annotated bibliography:

Trail map of Delaware State Park https://parks.ohiodnr.gov/Portals/parks/PDFs/parks/Maps/Delaware/delawaretrailmap.pdf

Trail map of Rocks & Roots Trail *Hasn’t been updated to include newest trail extensions* http://files.www.fleetfeetcolumbus.com/Rocks_and_Roots_Groundbreaking.pdf

Trail map of Alum Creek Park https://parks.ohiodnr.gov/Portals/parks/PDFs/parks/Maps/Alum_Creek/alumcreektrailmap.pdf

Trail information for Deer Haven Park *Doesn’t include connection to Havener Park https://www.preservationparks.com/parks/deer-haven/

Trail information for Shale Hollow Park https://www.preservationparks.com/parks/shale-hollow/

Trail Information for Gallant Woods Park *Doesn’t include connection to Gallant Farm https://www.preservationparks.com/parks/gallant-woods/

Trail Information for Blues Creek Park       https://www.preservationparks.com/parks/blues-creek/

Trail Information for Char-Mar Ridge Park *Ohio to Erie Trail Connector https://www.preservationparks.com/parks/char-mar-ridge/

Trail Information for Emily Traphagen Park https://www.preservationparks.com/parks/emily-traphagen/

Trail Information for Hogback Ridge Park *Alum Creek Trail Connector https://www.preservationparks.com/parks/hogback-ridge/

Trail Information for Hoover Scenic Trail *Ohio to Erie/Char-Mar Park Connector https://www.preservationparks.com/ohio-to-erie-trail/hoover-scenic-trail/

Trail Information for Meredith State Road Trail https://www.preservationparks.com/ohio-to-erie-trail/meredith-state-road-trail/

Trail Information for Sandal Legacy Trail             https://www.preservationparks.com/ohio-to-erie-trail/sandel-legacy-trail/

Trail Information for Ohio to Erie Trail                 http://www.ohiotoerietrail.org/interactive-map/

Trail map for Highbanks Metro Park                                   http://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/highbanks/park-map/

Weekly Reading

The second half of Nature, gave an easier to read and more relatable perspective. Coates discusses parks being a construct that were created for the rich. This a concept that I don’t necessarily agree with, as toady’s parks and preserved lands are open to everyone. They’re there for us as a society to enjoy, regardless of social status. I did agree with his views on how humans have manipulated nature, however. Genetically modified crops only exist due to us as humans needing to sustain our population. We have continually modified and impacted nature since the beginning of our existence, and that impact has only increased in severity as our populations have grown.


Collin Project Proposal

September 27, 2017

The Fantasies Implicit in Fantasy Cartography

Project Participant: Collin Rastetter

Project Description:

From Tolkien to a Dungeons and Dragons group, maps are numerous and useful to the participant in a high fantasy universe. From an external perspective, these maps serve many of the same purposes as maps of the “real world.” They typically are designed to better understand the spatial contexts of the fantasy universe’s lore and story progression, much as maps of the Earth can help contextualize the geographic relationships between people, environmental features, events, etc. Furthermore, fantasy maps frequently possess an aesthetic quality comparable to the desirability of a visibly enticing map of the Earth or one of her regions. However, fantasy maps are also susceptible to many of the same biases and distortions that geographic maps do. These biases can be just as cached as the implicit assumptions transmitted to geographic maps. Much as the real-world cartographer can easily assume that they are just representing the world as is, so too can the fantasy cartographer by believing they are mapping an objectively created universe.

The issues hitherto mentioned constitute those that will be addressed in the exegesis of fantasy cartography and its methods. Fantasy maps are attached to a specific set of assumptions, particularly in an aesthetic sense. Many fantasy maps are created using pseudo-medieval typography and symbology. This may seem reasonable, given that many fantasy settings are tinged with medievalism and a kind of bucolic spiritualism. The observer or participant in the universe, through using the map, can feel immersed in the lore by imagining that the map was made according to the in-universe style. However, this medievalism can lead to several complications, which will be explored further in the project. One example, though, is the placement of monster symbols throughout the map. Historically, these indicated unknown places, tall tales, or mere artistic flourishes in real-world maps. Fantasy universes may actually have monsters, so the map conveys ambiguity to the viewer. Is it the case that these monsters represent real creatures or the tall tales of the universe’s inhabitants?

An important detail that must be taken into account is how individual bias may factor into these fantasy maps. If they do indeed affect fantasy cartography, then the question must be raised as to whose biases they are: the real person making it or an assumed cartographer in-universe? In the case of the former, it can be quite indicative of the preferences that the participant has toward specific in-universe cultures, nations, etc. Consequently, this can inform how one, in addition to the map’s viewers, interprets and interacts with the fantasy world in which one is engaged. For the latter case, however, it gives insight into how an in-universe character’s culture might view that of other societies. One strain of bias affects the external interpretation of the universe, the other the internal interpretation of the universe. This is an example of the types of problems that will be analyzed with regard to subjectivity in high fantasy mapping.

Ultimately, I plan on using a number of resources to exemplify and illuminate the aforementioned problems in fantasy mapping. Most importantly, and obviously, I plan on using fantasy maps. Among these maps are the ones that my own Dungeons and Dragons group created for the world of Sae. In addition, I plan on examining maps made for more prominent fantasy universes, like World of Warcraft and Game of Thrones.

Project Outline: 

  • Introduce the subject of fantasy maps
    • Provide Examples
    • Broader question of what defines a fantasy map?
      • What assumptions do we make, and how do we relate territory to maps in a fantasy context?
      • What is the difference between our conceptualization of real places from real maps and fantasy places from fantasy maps?
  • Discuss the symbology of fantasy maps
    • Influence of “real-world” historical maps
      • How does this style affect our imagination and interpretation of the world?
    • Influence of in-universe biases
      • Who creates the bias: the in-universe cartographer or the external cartographer?
      • How does this bias the viewer’s immersion and imagining of the world?
        • Does this bias affect how one views a certain fantasy society’s towns, farms, or the general culture that yielded these settlements?
    • Influence of absence
      • Why are certain things depicted and others not?
        • Fantasy worlds exist in the imagination, so what does the absence of spatial data do to color our comprehension of the fantasy universe?
  • Discuss the typography of fantasy maps
    • Discuss many of the same issues as those related to symbology, though probably with greater brevity
    • How does our understanding of in-universe places get affected by the font and languages used?
      • What does the use of in-universe languages suggest about the cultures represented by the map?
        • Do these suggest implicit biases in the fantasy map? If so, whose?
  • Throughout the project, examples of fantasy maps will be used to illustrate these points.
  • Concluding thoughts

Annotated Bibliography:

Alan Isley: Dungeon Master

Alan Isley is the Dungeon Master for my Dungeons and Dragons group. Furthermore, he created a substantial portion of the universe that is depicted in our fantasy maps. He would be able to help articulate any errors or partialities conveyed in our maps.

 

Jacob Reese: Our Cartographer

Jacob Reese is a member of my Dungeons and Dragons group, and he primarily created the set of maps that we’ve used. Although the software he employed, Inkarnate, is limited in its capabilities, there are still many conventions and biases entrenched in those maps.

 

Ekman, Stefan. Here Be Dragons: Exploring Fantasy Maps and Settings. Wesleyan, 19 Feb. 2013.

This is a scholarly textbook written in the field of fantasy studies. Its main purpose is to examine how in-universe landscapes, and by extension maps, influence how the author and reader interpret fantasy stories. Specific attention is dedicated to analyzing maps of Middle Earth.

 

St. Onge, Tim. “Imaginary Maps in Literature and Beyond: ‘Not all those who wander are lost’.” Library of Congress, The Library of Congress, https://blogs.loc.gov/maps/2016/06/imaginary-maps-in-literature-and-beyond-not-all-those-who-wander-are-lost/.  25 Sept. 2017.

This blog post is part of a series on imaginary maps, with this post specifically dealing with the maps of Tolkien and George R. R. Martin’s universes. Within the blog post, the author comments on the shared, simple pictorial design choice for the in-book maps of these respective worlds. Furthermore, the author discusses the ways in which these maps further immerse the reader through the use of in-universe languages for toponyms.

 

Röhl, Tobias, & Regine Herbrik. “Mapping the Imaginary—Maps in Fantasy Role-Playing Games.” Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research [Online], 9.3 (2008): n. pag. Web. 27 Sep. 2017

This is a scholarly article that documents a study done on the utilization on fantasy or imaginary maps in role-playing groups. Primarily, the piece argues that fantasy maps allow players to synchronize their thoughts of the in-game world and that they allow for the imagination of the landscape within the set confines of the map.

 

Jacob, Christian. The sovereign map: theoretical approaches in cartography throughout history, edited by Edward H. Dahl. Translated by Tom Conley, University of Chicago Press, 2006.

I haven’t picked this book up yet, though it looks like it will be useful. According to notes on the book, it contains a section on imaginary maps as well as a potentially helpful discourse on toponyms.

 

Krygier, John. Making Maps: DIY Cartography. https://makingmaps.net/. Accessed 26 Sept. 2017.

The blog has several posts that can provide information on and examples of differing types of map symbology. Symbology plays a crucial role in how subjective attitudes, be it valorization or prejudice, can affect a map’s representation of place. This is as true for fantasy maps as for maps of the “real world.”

 

The History of Cartography, Volume 3. Edited by David Woodward, University of Chicago Press, 2007.

The twenty-first chapter of this book contains an rigorous outline of map symbology, or signage, during the Renaissance, with many of these symbols being carried over from Medieval cartographers. Since many fantasy maps are stylistically tinged by maps from this period, it is beneficial to know the types of symbols, and their implications, that different cartographers used.