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When map fiction becomes on-the-ground fact

Jason Norwood-Young
Jason Norwood-Young
2020-05-08

When cartographers aren’t sneaking hidden pics into maps, they’re making up fake place names in order to trap other cartographers who may plagiarise their work — known as “paper towns”. But in the case of one US paper town, Agloe, the little bit of cartographic crypto turned into a real place when a general store opened up in the location.

“Its store manager, having spotted Agloe on a map, had taken it as a good place to set up shop. A lack of houses or indeed a town of any kind should have suggested otherwise; the unfortunate shopkeeper went out of business shortly after.”

The imaginary American town that became a tourist attraction, The Guardian

This weird little place has made its mark on popular culture too, in the form of a John Green book and Cara Delevingne movie Paper Towns.

Jason Norwood-Young
  • Journalist, developer, community builder, newsletter creator and international man of mystery, Jason was one of the first South Africans to really grasp the importance of data in the newsroom and has remained one step ahead of the trends in the field all the way. Even Naked Data was conceived before email newsletters were cool again. But what does that tell you about the measure of the man? Nothing, that's what. He hides the superman CV behind a truly mild-mannered and overly modest persona and is best described as "one of the nicest guys in the business". When he's angry, it is righteously so, and his anger always wears velvet mittens. The true signs of his genius include the ability to create multilingual puns on demand (witness the alternative Naked Data strap "Putting the heita in to data") and the fact that he offered me a job. (AO)

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