As I finish certain books I have often thought “I wish I had noted the path of the character so I can make a map of it.” I decided to do so for the novel by Jonas Jonasson titled The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. It turned out to be a rather good book to do this for as the character circles the globe a few times. The novel in itself is entertaining but lacks depth.
I created the map using QGIS after giving up trying to do something a bit fancier and dynamic with Odyssey.js. It turns out Odyssey.js is a gateway gimmick to attract people to trying CartoDB, the company that created Odyssey.js. To make any really interesting maps with overlays you need to serve your data from CartoDB. They have free accounts but I don’t wish to have my maps dependent on them when, as in this case, it simply isn’t necessary. CartoDB could have easily made it so you can embed your own lines and polygons. Only markers are possible.
Using QGIS unfortunately wasn’t as simple as I desired. I originally wanted to use an azimuthal equidistant map centred on Sweden but QGIS gets very buggy and cuts off portions of the map as well as breaking apart continents. I selected the North Pole instead. This was suitable as it is not so far away from Sweden. I edited the map in Illustrator because QGIS map editing is painful as well. The map I made has absolutely no finesse but I figured I had better post it as it is otherwise I may never get around to making a nicer version and sharing it.
My main lesson to anyone who wishes to do the same is to keep more detailed notes. I tracked the date and location as well as the page number it appeared on but never the mode of travel between data points. My motivation for making a map dwindled as I realized that I really should have noted the mode of transportation.
If you ever want to test a potential hire for a GIS position give them a task to accomplish using a different GIS system than that which they are familiar with. Having taught GIS for almost 10 years, it’s clear that those students who are capable simply read the documentation or do a search online for the best way of accomplishing their desired task. So presenting a potential recruit with a new GIS system will quickly reveal whether they are familiar with the concept of figuring things out on their own by searching online. Once you are familiar with the GIS concepts, any GISystem should be straight forward.