Best Method For Memorizing City Streets

First off, I’m a complete newbie to the memory game. I’ve done a bunch of reading about memory and mnemonics and I think I’m ready to start applying what I’ve been learning.

The first thing I want to do is memorize some of the new suburbs in my city. I’m an appliance repairman and I’m always going into new subdivisions with new streets that are not in the GPS systems yet.

What would be the best method or methods to use to put these streets into my permanent memory? The problem that I’m having is that the streets are not on a squaregrid. They wind all around. There are names and shapes and positions to remember. Just not sure how to put a system together.

Any advice or ideas would be appreciated.

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(I’ve not tried this, but,)
Would it work if you just remembered intersections?
When you need to go somewhere you can just follow the streets it connects to until you find one you know how to get to.

example: you should be able to work out the geography of this suburb without having to know anything about how bendy the streets are.

Apple street:
Bay street, Cedar crescent, Douglas court, Cedar crescent, Elm St.

Bay street:
Apple street, Maple street

Cedar crescent:
Apple street, apple street

Douglas court:
Apple street.

Elm Street:
Apple street, Maple street.

A method that always worked for me was to convert the streets themselves into memory journeys. Then remove all of the street signs and make an image that represents the name on every corner, and just walk through the journeys in your mind. Or use them for memorizing, that way you’re reviewing the routes and learning at the same time!

See also:

Thanks for the suggestions.

I thought about using a Grid system, but the streets really wind around, so I’m not sure that would work very well.

I think I will try to memorize each street by intersection. So start at one end and memorize all the intersecting streets till the other end.

Dean Vaughn had a section in his book that he called The Topograph System. He used it to memorize countries and their relative position by changing the name of the country into images and then placing them in an order and using loci and shapes to remember them in order. That might work too, but would have to be adapted slightly.

Any other ideas?

The “Black cab” taxi drivers in London need to pass a series of tests in what is known as “The Knowledge”

“All-London drivers’ Knowledge is based on learning 320 routes (or runs). This will help them learn the 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks and places of interest in the six mile radius of Charing Cross.”
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/businessandpartners/taxisandprivatehire/1412.aspx

I would guess that those landmarks and places of interest (points) on the route are what keeps the whole thing working for the drivers. Think about your own journeys, if you were stopped on the street and ask for directions, you’d likely say, “first right past the Church” etc.

As such I’d suggest trying to map out the new roads and placing points of interest on the roads - specific buildings (police station, big red house, the Smith’s place), certain shops & stores, chruches, temples, other landmarks (phone box, post box, oddly shaped tree) etc etc.

It might also be worth while tracking down a black cabbies forum and seeing what they suggest for learning the knowledge.

Also see - BBC News - Brain changes seen in cabbies who take ‘The Knowledge’

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I’ll try to memorize all the streets of my city,is a small town, so I guess it is not impossible