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Mapping Robinson Crusoe
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Mapping Robinson Crusoe

2 min read

When mapping our data from the Stanford NER to Google Maps, I was most interested to see the predominance and specificity of locations in Europe, especially with respect to the rest of the world. These results were apparent even in my initial analysis of the locations list in NER, but are even more evident when viewing the pinpoints on a physical map, which speaks to the manner in which Google maps data.

The map included from the Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe contains visible details of globalization, travel, and voyage in highly visual aspects, from the font and the inclusion of latitude/longitude lines, to the names of small bodies of water and the sketching of various terrains. This image, in my opinion, seems like the journey that Robinson Crusoe would want to preserve as representative of his narrative.

The map that is reflected on Google Maps, however, feels like a more realistic representation of Crusoe's journey. Throughout the text, he refers to foreign territory as essentially "uninhabited islands," which we are able to see, even on the title page of the book. He does not give names to these places, as it would be almost antithetical to the theme of the text: of a man on a solitary journey to the vast unknown. Many of the pinpoints are actually centered on the final leg of his journey, when he is traveling back home through Europe. I found these contrasts to be interesting, but moreover, important in understanding Crusoe's sentiments towards places that are both familiar and unfamiliar to him.