Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Bloomsday Maps

James Joyce's epic novel Ulysses depicts the actions and thoughts of Leopold Bloom and other characters during one day, 16 June 1904. On June 16th each year Joyce devotees around the world like to celebrate the occasion with readings, re-enactments and the occasional drink. If you would like to take part in an event then you can find your nearest Bloomsday event on The James Joyce Centre's Event Calendar.

In 'Ulysses' Leopold Bloom actually posed an interesting mapping problem. He mused that a "Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub". This might sound like an easily solved routing problem. However the number of pubs in Dublin makes this a pretty daunting challenge.

One way to determine the location of pubs in Dublin is to look at OpenStreetMap. We can quickly do that in Overpass Turbo, a neat tool for finding and extracting amenities and features data from OpenStreetMap. If you open up the query 'Wizard' in Overpass Turbo and type in 'Pub in Dublin' you can view all the pubs in Dublin on OpenStreetMap. As you can see from the little map extract above there are a lot of places to get a drink in Dublin.

Maps on Kindle wasn't put off by the complexity of Bloom's puzzle. In How to Cross Dublin Without Passing a Pub the Kindle Maps blog not only proves that is is possible to cross Dublin without passing a pub it also shows you the route. At the very least you can use the map as a guide of streets to avoid on a night out in Dublin.

If you don't fancy a pub free walk in Dublin you could instead celebrate Bloomsday by visiting some of the locations in Dublin featured in the novel.

Walking Ulysees is a Google Map that traces the movements of the two main protagonists, Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, as they negotiate Dublin from early in the morning until they retire early the next morning.

Pick a chapter from the novel and you can view the characters' movements on the map, the notable buildings visited or passed and the relevant passage from the text. At times the text is also supplemented by sound and images from Joyce's Dublin.

Walking Ulysees could be used as a great walking guide to Joyce's Dublin. However if you can't get to Dublin don't despair. Instead use Joyce Walks to create a James Joyce walk for your own neighborhood.

Using Joyce Walks you can generate a walking route for any location in the world based on remapping routes from Ulysses. Joyce Walks provides you with a handy Google Map which shows you the route of your walk and which includes map markers at significant points along the walk with excerpts from Joyce's novel.

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