New Spatial Words to Describe and Recall Positions and Shapes in Maps and Diagrams.
When I’m making a mental note of where a point is relative to an area, for example, where a city is in a country, it is very convenient that I can mentally note that the city is at the, say, “western tip” (i.e. extreme point) of the country, or at it’s center. The phrase “western tip” can easily be recalled. But when the point is, say, one quarter of the way from the western tip to the center, there is no phrase (that I know of; let me know in the comments, or on Twitter, if there is) that is similarly memorable.
I propose that we create a new word that means “the location that is one quarter of of the way from the tip to the center”. It could be “tetran” (to coin a word off the top of my head). Then one could say that the city is at the “western tetran”. It’s so much more memorable than the long statement we need to use for lack of vocabulary.
It’s so convenient when an important meridian cuts a country roughly in half, partly because we have the phrase “cuts in half”. Likewise it would be convenient to be able to say that the meridian “cuts a country roughly in western tetran”.
Better still might be to have, say, “wetran” mean “western tetran”. Then you could say, “cut in wetran”.
If we had some new words describing positions in three dimensions, it would make it easier to specify where, say, a part of the brain is, and easier to recall that fact.
What if instead of saying some thing like “left frontal upper” we had a short, memorable word that meant that?
Also, how about new words, or existing words dusted off, to supplement words like “triangular”, “hourglass-shaped”, “sausage-shaped”, and so on. So often, an area on a map has a shape that isn’t described by any word that I an think of. So maybe those who’s work or interest involves maps could benefit from having access to a glossary of new names for neglected shapes.
How about a software package than can look at a shape and tell you some possible names for it. Not just when it is sausage-shaped, but also when it has some shape that few people could recognize. An island might have the same shape as part of human brain. Only a brain specialist would likely notice that. Software could spot the similarity, and tell you the name of the part of the brain and show you a picture of it. Then you could say that the island is X-shaped, where X is the name of the part of the brain. This would fix in your mind the shape of both the island and the brain part.
Imagine how clever you would sound casually describing the shape of an island that way, especially if you didn’t let on that a machine had spotted the similarity, and not you.
It would work the other way, too. A part of the brain could be described as being Y-shaped where Y is an island. Again, the listener/reader (a fellow brain surgeon?), would be impressed, whether the island is well-known or not.
How about some sort of machine that searches through millions of images to find similarly-shaped things for this purpose?