Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Maps: Exercise 31; the Austin Connection


We were asked to embed a map onto our blog and to write about our experiences creating a map with Google Maps, Yahoo Maps or Live Maps.

Look on the sidebar for my Google map of Austin, with a few favorite places marked with pointer inserts, including Barton Springs Swimming Pool in Zilker Park, the Austin Museum of Art and Amy's Ice Cream shoppe. Everyone complains that Austin has become too large or that it's not what it used to be in the 1970s, etc., but for me it is the quintessential Texas city. I'm not particularly into politics or government, but when I look down Congress Avenue and catch sight of the State Capitol building with its beautiful dome, I experience something I can only call a flush of pride to call myself Texan. There is even a state law which prohibits obstruction of that wonderful view.

I also marked the Elizabet Ney Museum in the Hyde Park section of Austin. An old friend of mine and one of Austin's most beloved poets, Albert Huffstickler, used to live in Hyde Park. Often he could be found drinking coffee and holding court on a park bench in front of Quack's Bakery on 43rd St. Huff, as we called him, left this world in 2002, but his legend is still strong. Let's take a poetry break with this poem from Huff:

NOSTRUM

Some days I just let
everything go
and sink into the neighborhood,
sit on the bench
in front of the bakery,
talk to anyone that passes
and don't think about
anything at all.
I think they call that
healing.

Albert Huffstickler, from Hindsight, Or How I Survived the Depression, Liquid Paper Press, 1997.

As for comparing the different mapping sites, I was most impressed with the Google maps. Their database of Austin places was more diverse than Live Maps or Yahoo. Google maps also has an interesting feature to their driving directions, where you can use the mouse to change the highlighted route and compare mileage. I will be playing with that soon because we are planning a road trip to Tennesee, Georgia and New York.

Image: Retablo for Huff, by KAO

1 comment:

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

K:

Many, many thanks for this post and, of course particularly, for the Huff poem. Just wonderful.

Don @Lilliput Review