Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks

Book - 2011
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It comes as no surprise that, as a kid, Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings slept with a bulky Hammond world atlas by his pillow every night. Maphead recounts his lifelong love affair with geography and explores why maps have always been so fascinating to him and to fellow enthusiasts everywhere. Jennings takes readers on a world tour of geogeeks, from the London Map Fair to the computer programmers at Google Earth. Each chapter delves into a different aspect of map culture: highpointing, geocaching, road atlas rallying, even the "unreal estate" charted on the maps of fiction and fantasy. He also considers the ways in which cartography has shaped our history, suggesting that the impulse to make and read maps is as relevant today as it has ever been.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York :, Scribner,, [2011]
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
Copyright Date: ©2011
ISBN: 9781439167175
Branch Call Number: 912 JE
Characteristics: 276 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm


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Oct 12, 2015

An interesting read about how maps are changing and evolving, and where we will be with them in the future.

WVMLStaffPicks Jun 03, 2013

Despite being challenged by folding a roadmap—never mind reading one—I loved this look at the world of geography wonks and its quirky subcultures: map fairs, geocaching, road atlas rallying, maps of "unreal estate," the National Geographic Bee, map collecting, Google Earth computer programming.... Who knew there were so many ways to enjoy maps? Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings' love of maps shines through, but he's willing to poke fun at his and others' mapheadedness.

Sep 22, 2012

Maphead by Ken Jennings.

This book is about maps. Or more precisely about their uses; who uses them; for what purpose; what they tell us about the map makers; map literacy; and other things about cartography you didn’t even think about.
.It is about that small (or maybe not so small) number of people who are positively entranced by maps: who enjoy maps, often the young who are enthralled a
by maps and for whom they become, almost, a kind of magic carpet that takes them to the far-away places depicted on their maps.
This book is by turns entertaining, insightful and highly informative. Not everyone’s book, granted. But then what is For me, and for many of you an entertainingly super read. Give this one an eight out of ten.

Jul 03, 2012

A fun book written from the point of view of Ken Jennings, the Jeopardy! winningest contestant. Filled with footnotes and little trivia notes, it's fascinating to learn about the various ways in which we construct our worlds.

Mar 16, 2012

"It would be nice if Americans knew where a country was before we went to war with them." - Alex Trebek, Jennings' old nemesis

I love reading and studying maps. If you ask me about it, I might describe my interest using nebulous phrases such as "geographic relationships" or "sense of place" before degrading further into abstraction. I don't know, I just love it. Maphead by Ken Jennings (of Jeopardy fame) is an exploration of why a certain niche group of people like me love geography so much. That hard-to-describe passion for maps, he reasons, probably extends from an acute intelligence of spatial awareness. Those test questions from high school where you were asked to pick the correct rotated version of some complex shape, excelling at those usually meant being above-average at directional thinking.

The world of the geography wonk has many devoted followers: geography trivia, map collectors, the annual National Geographic Bee and the GPS hobby of geocaching to name a few covered in this book. But the subject is also considered second tier according to the mainstream and Jennings gives compelling reasons why this shouldn't be so and makes the case for a stronger geography education.


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