State Of The Map 2010/The Girona Tales

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This poem is the result of an idea I had at last year's SOTM in Amsterdam. After winning the role of OSM Poet Laureate, I joked that I'd have to spend the year writing an epic fail tale for next year's event. This is that epic poem, but rather than spend all year on it, I've been giving it a bit of attention in the last few weeks available. Ah well.

For those that don't recognise it, what you are seeing is an unashamed rip-off of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, a masterpiece of Middle English verse. Those who had to study this poem will probably remember it for the language some of which hardly even seems like English. People who thought that Shakespeare used odd words come right down to earth when confronted by Chaucer. Be thankful that my Middle English isn't all that great - so the poem below will be an uneasy mix of old language I could rip from Chaucer (copyright now expired), my own Mock-Middle-English attempts and some more modern stuff. But hey, it's just a bit of fun, right?

The original Canterbury Tales are concerned with the story of a group of people who met on the way to a pilgrimage to a holy (Christian) shrine in Canterbury. Since SOTM has elements of a pilgrimage about it, it seemed a perfect fit to tell instead the stories of some of the characters of OSM. In the tales below you'll encounter knights, a scribe, even a prophet. You'll discover that mapping is, in fact, a religion, and like all good religions it has friction not just from the heathens without but also from the members within.

If you need some help dissecting the language, check out the side-by-side translations of the original poem linked above. If you recognise yourself below, I hope you like your portrayal, or, at least, that you can see the funny side or aren't bigger than me. If you don't find yourself below, sorry, I only had so much time and I started with the tales for which I had early inspiration. If you have a great idea for a missing tale, or perhaps a better idea for a character already covered, feel free to add your tale at the bottom of the page.

Finally, keep in mind that spelling wasn't standardised in Chaucer's day, so any mis-spellings you find might be deliberate. But feel free to tell me about them anyway.

Oh, and I'm told that the shipman won't be in Girona - this is what happens when you document a story before it happens. This is probably a good time for the usual Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work, other than the Shipman, all Dutchmen (real and suspect), the Knyghts, the Scribe, the Spaniard, the Kartografin, the Adventurers, the Prophet and the Scholar, are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. No languages, apart from Middle English, were harmed in the production of this poem.

All feedback welcome, see you all in Girona! --Mackerski 02:48, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

The Girona Tales

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
Whan Maye hath teased the earth with sonnen shyne
In June do mappers stir to-ward their shrine
(so truly doth the rayne from heaven piss
Iberia should be warm, givve home a miss)
This year came they from evry countryes ende
With RyanAir to Girona do they wende
The sacred wifi hotspot for to seke
The Holy Grail for any mapping geeke
Bifel that in that seson on a day,
At Dublin Airport benche whereon I lay
(The night afore with merriment was loud
No early starts next year hath I avowed
Thought I, heade feeling less than fully sturdy,
What kind of eejit bookes for seven-thirty?)
That morn hath gathered in the hostelrye,
Wel several mappers in a compaignye
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felawshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
That toward fayre Girona wolden ryde.
In seats for mappers truly not too wyde
And wel we werent esed atte beste;
Mead for 2 Euro 50 and the reste
(And yet poor Mick must all the profits divvy,
‘Tis said he hopes to charge us for the privy)
And shortly, whan the airplane was to reste,
With luckily no need for the swim veste
So hadde I spoken with hem everichon
That I was of hir felaweshipe anon
And standing with alle other SOTMites,
Who recently alighted from their flights,
Together trodden we the baggage halle,
Ful hoping for no incident at alle
(a bagge if for to go astraye perchance,
could leave you days with no clean underpants)
There met we others from our mapping kin,
Good fellowes, quaint of dress, some fatte, some thin
(The mapping girls were still a little scant
Tis said they want to read the maps but can’t)
But nathelees, whil I have tyme and space,
Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
Me thynketh it acordaunt to resoun
To telle yow al the condicioun
Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
And whiche they weren, and of what degree,
And eek in what array that they were inne;
And at a shipman wol I first bigynne.

A SHIPMAN was ther, wonynge fer from sea;
For aught I woot, he was of Charlbury.
Stille wont was he to mess around in boates,
Or barges, rafts or anything that floates.
In publishing is where he earns his crust,
It’s not as fun as boating, but needs must.
A man devout in things of our belief,
That mapping should be fun, not filled with grief
To this end has he made for all to see,
An editor as capable as he.
Tis loved by all, leads newbies neer astray,
“He might have wanted twenty of that way”
No true religion can avoid discussion
Which cometh very often from the Prussian
Who frequently, with thoughts above his station
Crieth “heresy” and urgeth reformation
Our worthy shipman’s made of sterner stuff
What interest him this pile of heathen guff?
The Holy Potlatch soon will be just humming
All goode Messiahs need a second coming
And yet I have no choice but to be sadde.
The thing will never run on my iPadde.

A DUTCHMAN was there too, but only juste,
His origins being easy to distruste
His poor command of his own mother tongue
Go backe a while whan we was very young
Than landed he there where the local lingo
Is hit and miss, a little like the bingo
Though sweet to hear and fayre of melodie
A Swede could grok it easier than me
And so now in the countryside of Cork
Resideth this confusing mapper... gent
A worthy man and loyal to the scripture
Particularly that one holy stricture
To eat not of the fruit upon that tree
That Mr. Jobs chose for his compaignye

REAL DUTCHMEN were there, sure, but there were plenty,
I counted wel not less than nine and twenty,
Tis not so widely known what they doth map,
Their map’s been full for years, sometimes of crap,
For us tis just a cautionary tale,
Tis with hard work that mappers will prevail,
A finished country is but just the start
We must maintain the horse before the cart
But magick fills their evry waking hour,
A flying monster, blades that can devour,
(I thought it looked quite like a flying saucer,
So modern as to startle even Chaucer)
Contrivances to read a sign of text
What worship is this that would seem so hexed?
Lads, put away that stuff that so encumbers,
Get on your fiets and write down some house numbers!

Two KNYGHTS ther were, and those ful worthy men,
That fro the tyme that they first bigan
To riden out they loved cartographie
Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.
Riden hadde they from north and east
Withe iPhone and Android to guide the beast
Though many will resort to crass disputing,
In Nürnberg fell they victim to poor routing
Both were once heathens just like all the rest
But now ride with Saint Skobble on their breast
And at the shrine of mapping to entreat
The road class tags to maketh more concrete
These worthy knyghts, their task it is not easy
Some old believers even found it sleazy
“Shall people do real work with my endeavour?”
“I want my data locked away forever”
“I don’t care if the knyghts convert more souls”
“Those plebs will break the map, we need controls”
And so the knyghts proceed to do real work
To test our faith and show us every quirk
And even those who doubt must sure confess,
We’ll see much more of this before there’s less

A SCRIBE I saw, a wise and measured man,
In Baden on the Rhine had he his clan,
A holy man, a spreader of good news
And a challenger of foolish heathen views
He crafts his words our message to defend
On talk-de with much must he contend
(It must be said, the tone can get quite rough
Who finds the time to map with all that guff?)
For cause of good writes he as on a mission,
A holy book, now in its third edition.
He’ll argue in the hope to bring accord
His pen is mightier than any sword

A SPANIARD was there too, a merry fellawe
Of even temper, no mapper more mellow
He was, indeed, a poet aspirant
Whose lack of words did little for to daunt
“In maken of the nicest poetrie”
“Who sayeth that the author must be me?”
“Words plenty hath been writ by other folk”
“Yay verily, why fix what is not broke?”
And so from all that written by the crowde
To take the bestest words he him allowed
Though truly one worde from among the reste
Doth seeme to be undoubtedlie the beste
Who wondereth at this fellawes chosen source?
Ful surely twas the Prophet’s poem of course.
Of unclear licence, this must we avow
Though surely must the Prophet this allow
A man so keen on the commons creative,
Would surely not be mean with his narrative
And all the more, lest he be deemed absurd,
When his fair work consisteth of one word.
This showeth, I do fear from this vantage,
How urgent be our need for licence change
“Maps, maps maps maps” need not send Steve berserk,
Re-licenced it’s a fine collective work

And with him saw I eek the KARTOGRAF
In cloak of office and with walking Staff
A man yet wiser than the normal crowd
And yet his words delivreth he not loud
He telleth us of his most pressing will,
To grow some tools yet finer than his quill
Though must I own within my mapping fables,
Some difficulty placing of the labels
Fill colours too could do with some improvement
This too he hopes derived from the movement
This year come even tidings of much joy
Philanthropists will help to fund our toy
Already done, support for SVG
What wonders might arrive next wonders he
With luck he can just build the feature list,
Then sit home with both feet up and... you get the gist

A KARTOGRAFIN too was in our midst
Who at the court of Wien did assist
A map geeke and a girl geeke alle in one
Creative mind so not to be outdone
So fine to see a mapper of that gender
And one with thoughts of how it all should render
Her city fully mapped in some detail,
Tis clear that not all map priests must be male
A language riddle does she yet present,
The speech of Wien is sure not her accent
Still less that of her Swabian field of clover,
Yet favours she the dialect of Hannover
So comes she too to worship at our maps
And somehow tolerates us hairy chaps

ADVENTURERS were there too, come from afar,
Of much turmoil and strife they bore the scar,
True veterans of all that is online
And that from years before we might divine
Their presence caused a stare from us of course,
Who knew those guys were into open source?
“This sucks” was cried by one coarse rabble-rouser,
They used to make you use a special browser.
But Time heals all (and Warner too, I’ll guess)
And lest my tale should land me in a mess
Consider that no decent pilgrimage
Occurs without important finançage
These worthy gents bring booty to the table
Such splendour as is only heard in fable
With platinum be our sacred purpose funded
But lo! Shall our high hopes be now confunded?
There hither comes he now with heavy load,
Of plastic discs, 12 centimeter broad
Each platinum grey, a spray of 3 microns,
A quantity the fill of five wagons,
Each bearing the inscription “10 hours free!”
(A bargain, surely, doth that seem to me)
Indeed from nothing reap you truly nowt,
Come help us get that precious metal out

From west there came the PROPHET then also,
A man who not that very long ago,
Said “lads, I’ve got it, maps they should be free”
“for all good men, for nowt and without fee”
(No girls were mentioned in this revelation,
They must have entered later the equation)
“So basically we all run round in rings”,
“And log our every movement, that’s the thing”
“With just ourselves we might as well not bother”
(“My pint is gone, yes, sure, I’d love another”)
“But just suppose that in this world, you see,”
“Are hundred-thousands just as weird as we”
“If everybody maps his little bit”
“T’will be like Teleatlas, but less... well-known”
And so the OpenStreetMap it was born,
Since, of its shining newness it’s been shorn
All cults can have some members who will mutter,
Some worthy folk, and the occasional nutter,
Hearts of all thousands not so easy won
Oh a prophet’s lot is not a happy one.

One SCHOLAR could not join our holy crowd,
Injurious to study, he avowed,
A worthy mapper, blunt and yet complex
With always the potential to perplex
Respected yet by every mapping peer
A newbie hath he been more than one year,
Yet critical of those who would demolish,
To all our mapping data he brings Polish.
His frugal life shows us a true believer,
No alcohol, no phone, Garmin receiver
What mappers tolerate this fellawe’s hollers?
Those from the island of the saints and scholars.

So with our many Bagges alle collected
We mappers with our conveyance connected
Wel cautious for to maketh alle our own
Route through this darke and somewhat heathen town
It happens oft in highly holy places
that many sects establish their own bases
And so, as we arrived, tired and panting,
Encountered we NON-MAPPING PILGRIMS, chanting.
(These guys were in their habits somewhat weird,
They worshipped some old fellawe with a beard)
So sensed we that these souls had lost their way
And with crusading zeal urged them to pray
And after, better still, than this perhaps,
Provided them with decent holy maps
Though heathen, twas a goode and fayre citie
With Iryshe pubbes and girls there were prettie
Though Spanyshe pubbes caused evry kinde of grumblin
Perhaps I shoulde have stayed behind in Dublin

And lo! The ceremonie doth begin
With prayers to protect us all from sin
The world of software comes with much temptation
We must protect our open-data nation
Not twenty seconds in came up a shout
Come, open up, a sponsor is without!
How odd, could we have missed one of our mates?
But now stands bold SIR WILLIAM at the Gates
This prospect seemed to many rather scary
And sure t’was little wonder they were wary
Could this man verily a pilgrim be?
Or a worshiper of false cartography?
Comes he with our religion just to flirt?
Or have we here a prominent convert?
A purse of gold hath he about his person
Which doth not seem his character to worsen
Our sect must welcome those that would repent
While cautious still of what they represent
What brings this sponsor for our microcosm?
Perhaps an oblique pic plugin for JOSM

Fake Geoffrey Chaucer

--Mackerski 02:26, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Crowd-contributed Tales

Please add any contributed tales (signed) here: