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Do you think we created maps on a grid line in reflection of the way our brains work, or have our brains adapted to the way we create maps?

The grids our brain uses to navigate mirrors the way we have constructed the majority of our maps. This is a "chicken or the egg" question.

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    Oct 25 2012: What is more appealing to you, a monoculture plantation in which each tree is equally spaced from one another and, let's say, a rain forest in it's chaotic pattern?

    I prefer the rain forest, by it looks, as it pleases and challanges my mind.

    In terms of landscapes I prefer the same. As more natural and uneven it is, as more I like it.

    Since the industrial revolution we developed a tendency for optimisation and standardisation, and this mirrors back from many constructions and urbanization efforts we undertook since.

    To me, a grid-devided, modern city, may be helpful if you are a tourist, yet it neither please my eyes, nor does it challange my mind, especially the part reserved for 'orientation'... :o)

    Geometric pattern, may they be repetetive and/or geometrically ordered do appeal to us and they can be very aesthetic at times. Yet there is more than just order to find the right balance and there is always the risk of plain boredom.

    Instead nature's chaos does not seem to run into those risks, as I have never seen a boring all natural habitat.

    On this last statement I have exclude some of my teenage time ranging from age 14 to 17 where nothing could be more boring than nature, especially on a walk with my parents ... :o)

    Besides those episodes, I think, gridlines are accessible to our minds, yet not necessary to enjoy and to grow them.
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    Oct 23 2012: How is our brain like a grid? How do brains work?
    Here are some brain maps: http://www.humanconnectomeproject.org/
  • Oct 21 2012: That's a great point- thanks! It's interesting that geometry also seems to be a convenient method for our neurons as they make connections that orient us. Before this video, I always assumed that the connections between our braincells would be organic, shapeless blobs.
  • Oct 21 2012: This is something that I barely remember from history class a million years ago:

    In the USA, the land west of the colonies was considered unsettled and much of it was unknown. Even before much of it was explored someone developed a method of dividing it up on the map, into squares. Today many of our roads go in straight lines along the edges of these squares, either north-south or east-west. It should not be difficult to research just who decided and when.

    I think the choice of using squares was a matter of convenience for the map makers and administrators of the land. I think this convenience is not a product of the way our brains work, but just a quality of geometry. For example, it would be very difficult to manage circular boundaries. Hexagons would fit together, but it is more difficult to compute the area in a hexagon.

    I doubt that the surveyors who had to keep to those lines, regardless of swamps, cliffs or other obstacles, considered them convenient.