Mapping one’s footsteps

I’ve got a number of real-life concerns to grapple with this week, so the next installment in the series of reports chronicling my recent trip to Japan won’t appear for a while. In the meantime, I’d like to share a little side project I’ve just started using Google Maps: an annotated cartographic record of nearly every walk and train journey I took during my twelve-day visit to the Land of Raw Fish on Rice.

Day 2’s walking tour of the Imperial Palace – which was the subject of this report – has already been plotted. Whenever time allows, I’ll trace out more of my travels starting with walking tours and saving the longest train journeys for last. Ideally, I’d like to plot each phase of the trip as accurately as possible, down to the side of the street I was walking on and the precise station exit I used, but to save time I intend to trace out very long journeys (such as the shinkansen ride between Tokyo and Kyoto) by simply drawing a straight line between the point of departure and the final destination.

UPDATE (25 April 2009): Route taken through Imperial Palace East/Outer Gardens (to Sakurada-mon) added to map.

5 Responses

  1. Wow, that’s quite the undertaking, given the vast network of sidestreets and rail systems that Japan has. Good luck o7

  2. Oh, that’s an interesting way to mark the path you took 🙂 It is good to put it in print because human memory fades with time.

  3. @Zeroblade: If Google Maps users can access cutaway views/floor plans of buildings, I’d be sorely tempted to mark down even the floors, stairwells, lifts and corridors I used.

    I say, this could easily turn into a major obsession.

    @Kitsune: Now is certainly the best time to do this, while my memories are still fresh. The photographs are the key: they can act as the primary memory triggers, and I can draw on other references (maps, guidebooks, etc.) to fill in any blanks.

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