Mapping strange and extraordinary places


Humans have always had a thing for unusual objects and strange places or objects. It is in our nature to want to explore the unknown or at least be aware of whatever surrounds us. For those who want to know more about the unusual objects of the World without traveling to each and every country, it is possible to do it online on the www.atlasobscura.com website.

This website gathers incredible amounts of information about the strange places that can be discovered around the World. The website has four different sections named “The Atlas”, “Stories”, “Events” and “Trips”. It is on the atlas section that we can find a map of the World that shows all the collected data at once. For example, here is the data collected in the northern part of France (we can see the large amounts of data collected in Paris).

 

Figure 1 – General view of Atlas Obscura map of strange places (source: www.atlasobscura.com)

 

The power of this map is that it works on crowdsourcing so everyone can post a new curious place when they see one while they are traveling. That is why, more than 12 000 strange places have been posted online since its opening.

To add a new place to the Atlas we can just scroll down and on the bottom of the page we can see an “add a place to the atlas” button. After signing in and locating the place on the map, we have to write a description of the place and post one or more pictures and that’s it.

 

Figure 2 – Example of contributions and how to start contributing yourself (source: www.atlasobscura.com)

 

On the map, we can click on every mark and it will open a little window with a picture of the location of the place, its name and a very short description which may encourage the viewer to want to know more about the place.

 

Figure 3 – Example of how we can see one strange place on the map (source: www.atlasobscura.com)

 

When we click on the open window, a new tab will open with a much longer description of the place and several large pictures that reveal more about the place. We can also add more pictures or point out that we have been or want to go there. A little map on the top-right corner of the page shows a more precise location of the place.

 

Figure 4 – The page of a strange place in France (source: www.atlasobscura.com)

 

The website also includes a list of all the events that are planned over the next few days and that may be strange or unusual as well as many stories about all the strange places this atlas includes. This makes, according to the authors, Atlas Obscura the most complete atlas of the strange. Among the events we can see popular shows like See/Saw the magic show starring Siegfried Tieber.

However, there might be a negative thing, common to all crowdsourcing projects, which is the veracity of the data. User contributions are of course validated by the website administrators so that obviously fake places shouldn’t be published. But maybe some minor fake facts could be published here and there without the atlas authors seeing it which may be a little annoying.

In spite of this potential problem, we can say that the atlas is very rich and interesting and it reveals incredible places that are not known yet to the general public which makes it a very interesting project.

 

Sources:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/all-11000-places-in-the-atlas-on-one-map

http://www.atlasobscura.com/events/seesaw

https://www.broadwayworld.com/los-angeles/article/Atlas-Obscuras-SEESAW-Extends-Again-20171014

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