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2006 12 31
Zoom Zoom Zoom

I'm sure anyone reading this (if there is, in fact, anyone reading this) has used Google Maps and zoomed in to a particular area only to have the map turn gray and display this message:

"We are sorry, but we don't have imagery at this zoom level for this region.
Try zooming out for a broader look."

It's as if Google read my mind. This often happens to me when discussing parts of Toronto that I know I should recognize but for the life of me, I cannot picture. This is particularly true when listening to traffic updates (Major Mackenzie? Steeles? Sheppard?) The map of Toronto formed in my head is full of these gray areas; voids where nothing is seen. Obviously there are many intersections in Toronto I've never been, but there are many more where I have and for whatever reason, in conversation with someone, I'll find myself nodding, as if I understand completely yet in my head I'm just seeing grayness and thinking, "...we don't have imagery at this zoom level for this region. Try zooming out for a broader look." Nothing...no Second Cup, no toppled mail box, no restaurant, no unusual brick house, no glaring dry cleaner sign, nothing to cling to visually at all.

I think of the city as bordered by the Humber, the Lake, the Don, and the 401. Yet this leaves large swaths of the city missing from my mental map. For years, there was a blankness in the neighbourhood I now call home, so there is hope. The grays can be filled in. Until online maps came along though, I didn't really know how to verbalize this nothingness. For now, if in conversation with me, you mention an intersection and you notice my eyes drifting up and to the right, don't be surprised if I say,
"I'm sorry, but I have no imagery at this zoom level. Try zooming out..."

Thank you for your patience.
[email this story] Posted by P. Rogers on 12/31 at 10:38 PM

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