Announcing the Adventure Cartography Society

Yesterday I visited Grant’s Tomb and Riverside Church in hopes of not getting shot when I came back that evening to flash a laser rangefinder over their property, write things down, and gesture excitedly to my male associates. Before approaching their building & security staff to prepare them for that particular encounter, I realized I needed a better explanation for my motivation other than “my friends and I are Dungeons & Dragons fans, and we want to see for ourselves what it’s like to map and fool around in a 300-foot-high mausoleum and a faux-medieval cathedral!”

Thus, like all great D&D schemes, the Adventure Cartography Society was born of the adventurer’s desire to flim-flam one’s way deeper into the dungeon. Joining is easy! Here are the precepts of the ACS:

Goal: We of the Adventure Cartography Society seek to improve our understanding of time, space, and the range of human and animal performance by measuring and mapping familiar spaces and using them to test our assumptions about what’s possible.

Methodology: In the spirit of international cooperation, all publications of the Adventure Cartography Society should provide measurements in both the metric and Imperial systems. Members are also encouraged to provide data in all other measurement systems that were used in the creation of the map or are useful to its interpretation.

Ethics: All publications of the Amateur Cartography Society belong to its members. When we publish under the aegis of the Society, we agree that anyone may use and share our data. The ACS strongly supports citation of authorship, and will work to ensure that members are properly credited for their work.

What We Do: Members propose experiments and share results!

Tavis’s First Experiment: Make a map of the area between your living space and your front door. Graph or hex paper is recommended, with each square/hex being approximately one or two of your body-lengths. Experiment with what you and other people and animals can do in this space over the durations of one second, six seconds, one minute, and ten minutes.

Results of my own D&D-inspired results from this experiment coming soon!

This post is a publication of the Adventure Cartography Society, and should be credited to Tavis Allison using the URL: http://wp.me/pEkb0-1v

3 Responses to “Announcing the Adventure Cartography Society”

  1. October 11, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Tavis, is there any reason to make this information proprietary? Why not release it under some version of Creative Commons?

  2. 2 tavisallison
    October 11, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Laziness and ignorance, like all great D&D schemes. I dunno enough about the Creative Commons licenses, and couldn’t be bothered to look ’em up. If you want to deputize yourself the ACS’s Captain of the Intellectual Property Lancers and suggest a CC license compatible with that ethics statement, go for it! (Like the Crossed Swords, the Amateur Cartographers consist entirely of captains.)

    I might have gone too far into the role of a pseudo-scientific organization here. The idea was that, as a member of the ACS, I want everyone to be able to use my data – to take these images, text, narrative, etc. and do other cool things with them, the way that maldoor’s charts are a very cool secondary use of the experience point data I published. But I think this information has some tiny but non-zero value, so I don’t want it to be given away free-as-in-worthless. I want people to give me credit for the work I did in gathering these data, but I don’t want that to limit their use of it. (The Open Game License is the copy-left scheme I know best, and it’s both poorly designed to handle attribution – although we can help by not claiming that the Amateur Cartography Society is a trademarked name – and bulky; I want a one-line notice like at the bottom of that post, not a one-page wall of legalese that grows with each attribution!)

    The idea is that I give the Society members collective ownership of my information – so that I acknowledge that this is now publicly-held data, even if it’s not the general public – and the Society in theory looks out for the attribution rights of its members.

    In practice, this is a kind of proprietary that has no legal meaning. The assumption, as with an old-school scientific society, is that this is the ideal code of behavior, which (as honorable gentlefolk) all members of the Society and those who might possibly be interested in our work will naturally wish to follow. Those who dishonor these these rules will be challenged to duels, intrigued against within the Society, and exposed to public jeering when encountered in the street, coffee-shop, or ale-house, just like in the old days when scientists were more like adventurers.

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Past Adventures of the Mule

October 2009

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