When lockdown hit, the world went local and everyone’s worlds shrunk to what was immediately around them. With holidays halted, many started realising the beauty of the world more local to them. For me walks became an escape and the fresh countryside air helped me through such an uncertain time. I discovered paths I had never been down and hills I had never climbed despite living in the area for almost 20 years! My understanding of my local area expanded hugely as I trialled new routes and took many accidental wrong turns.
During my day-to-day work as a geographer and geospatial data analyst, I often explore the Earth’s surface from above through satellite imagery, scanning over landscapes and elevation data at the click of a button. Yet, once my colleague Claire (an artist and designer) and I got talking, we started connecting these elevation dataset images to the landscape we enjoyed both in Ireland and the UK.
We explored new ways of highlighting the natural landscapes around us, experimenting with colours, shading, and looking at the UK and Ireland in a whole new light. With the support from our work community, we formed a way of representing this data to highlight the terrain of local landscapes and printed these into a set of map prints. From mountains to rivers we wished to highlight every crevasse of our natural world.
“Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.”Bob Dylan
Lockdown for me also highlighted the importance of memories and spending time with loved ones. Connecting to your roots, the power of place, and the feeling of home. For really, when the world gets stripped right back to basics, the main thing which was missed was our ability to make memories, go on adventures and see friends and family. We wished to highlight these in our map art, whether celebrating a love of our local spaces, remembering special memories, or celebrating trips of lifetimes – our maps can celebrate a time as well as a place.
We truly wanted to keep the planet at the heart of this small business. We have opted for sustainable and environmentally friendly printing services and are continually trying to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
We have really enjoyed exploring the world in this new way and are excited to see where it takes us! If you want to check out the website, it’s www.onthegridmapping.com. We would love to hear what you think of it!