Trip Calculator

“Before GIS, before GPS, before Google Earth, there was the milestone.” So begins a recent New York Times article about an early wayfinding marker known as the milestone. At least 40 milestones pointed 18th-century New Yorkers in the direction of City Hall, the nearest East River ferry, or neighboring cities such as Jamaica (then an independent village).

Activity: Consider your milestones — literal, not metaphorical. How do you know where you are going? How do you navigate when you are somewhere unfamiliar and must find your way? Using paper and pen, your phone and its camera, or a laptop or tablet, draw or otherwise create a visualization of a line of your commute from home to college to work to social or family activities, noting major milestones — those features that help you navigate. Draw one entire day — a 24-hour period.

Learning outcomes: This activity will develop students’ ability to make observations, record data, and analyze data to produce a visual calculation of their daily routine.

Tools & resources: A phone with a camera; paper and pen or laptop or tablet with drawing program.

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