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The idea of a one-to-one scale map of the world, portraying everything in it, is a venerable device in literature, surfacing most famously in the work of Lewis Carroll and Jorge Luis Borges; in Harry Potter, there’s a map that shows what everyone in Hogwarts is doing at every moment. But in the era of Street View Trekker and Liquid Galaxy, these fictional maps seem somewhat less absurd – and the level of detail is only one way in which maps are changing. Increasingly, the boundary between consulting a map and interacting with the world outside it is blurring: when Google glasses, currently in prototype, can project directions, or reviews of the restaurant you’re looking at, directly into your visual field, what does the word “map” mean anymore? While researching his forthcoming book, A History of the World in Twelve Maps, Brotton sometimes brought up the “one-to-one map” idea, from Borges and Carroll, with people at Google, but they didn’t find it particularly witty or intriguing.
“Oh, yeah,” they would reply, matter-of-factly. “We can make that map.” How Google and Apple’s digital mapping is mapping us | Technology | The Guardian