Greetings, Bay Staters and curious outsiders. This is Bostonography.
My name is Andy Woodruff. I am a cartographer and one-fifth of Axis Maps. I have lived in the Boston area for a little over two years, having arrived in Cambridge in 2008. That’s a lifetime short of being accepted as a real local, but nevertheless I have a great fondness for Boston, Cambridge, and the rest of the area. When I’m not doing my day job, too often I’ve spent my time describing the city with maps. (Below, for example. More on that one eventually.)
And why not? In its geographical form Boston is, for lack of a better word, unique in this country. (Permit me to use the word “Boston” loosely to describe the urban settlement centered on Boston, ignoring arbitrary administrative boundaries.) Culturally and physically speaking, it is an eminently mappable city. And I’ve witnessed the pride in the city that can be inspired by maps that speak to the character of Boston. This is part of my motivation in creating this site.
“Bostonography” could mean a lot of things, but my idea of it is maps and graphics that describe Boston and life in Boston, and the underlying stories about the city. This isn’t a collection of every single map or image that turns up; it’s about those that represent particularly interesting facets of Boston’s culture or geography. Or sometimes it’ll just be especially cool Boston-themed work. The material on this site might range from eye candy to thorough academic studies.
Tim Wallace, area native and Ph.D. candidate in Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, joins me as a partner in this endeavor. He brings to the table a real knack for uncovering fascinating images and stories as well as the perfect level of scholarly interest in Boston’s cultural geography. He also brings lots of gummy candy. Not having overlapped in our graduate school time at UW, Tim and I largely know each other through conference encounters, which are great for hatching schemes like this site. For a bit more about us, check the About page.
So there you have it—an introductory post. We’ll dive into some actual interesting stuff very soon, starting with the work of the influential Bostonographer Kevin Lynch (one of his maps, showing “some major problems” in Boston, is below as a preview). So thanks for dropping by, and stay tuned to the RSS and/or Twitter feeds!