Maya's Map Method

I had the opportunity for the title, so I went with it! :stuck_out_tongue:

To get to the point, I got a private message asking me how I memorized the map of the world, and I decided to just make it into a forum post to maybe help others too. When memorizing the countries of the world, I also wanted to memorize where on the world they would be, which proved to be a challenge because it is just a chaos of borders that are also different depending on where the map has been made. Some maps show Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as independant, others show them as a part of china. Some maos show Vatican City, others don’t, and I know that just like me, many just have no clue how to use the memory palace to memorize their placement on the globe.

So here is the guide to Maya’s Map Method (I keep loving that name :P)

Getting a list of the countries

First off, get a list of all the countries you want to memorize. I started out with the list of sovereign states, which is already a great list. I actually wanted to make my own list, which I might post once I have the time. I then drew a huge world map on a whiteboard (3 by 5 feet board) on which I put a magnet for each of the countries listed. That made it more visual to me and allowed me to add/remove some things. So I ended up with a list I was comfortable with and I started thinking of images for the countries while working on the next step, which I all listed with the countries.

A friend of mine who loves travelling did a similar thing with making a world map, she actually did three things, which might give you ideas in case you don’t have a whiteboard. She started out with a map bought online, of around 1 by 2 meters. Then she wanted to make her own so she bought a white shower curtain which she used as a canvas for a world map drawing. Currently she had someone outline the earth in quite great detail, and everytime she has visited a country it gets colored.

Making a metro chart of the world

I now started slightly rearranging the magnets until they formed a nice, clear chart similar to the metro charts. In the early days, metro charts were as topographically correct as could be, but they were confusing. That was a problem I faced with the countries of the world as well. So I simplified it. I put all magnets in a bit of a grid pattern as much as possible. So I ended up with a distorted earth image. While not showing me the exact location of a country, it did show me how they were placed relative to other countries. There was some puzzing here, but in the end it worked out fine.

Making the Palace

I replaced the outline of the earth which I had made with one resembling the distorted map, complete with lines showing the countries in another color. I then made this into a memory palace, the coastlines forming the walls. Some islands like Papua New Guinnea, the Phillipenes, Indonesia, Malta, Corsica, Sardinga, Hawaii, etc. were not included in that. Those would become loci outside the walls in the next step.

Placing the Loci

Now I had a memory palace with a shape resembling the world. I then placed various loci in it, each resembling the size of the country. Russia is a soccer field, China a tennis court, while Belgium gets a chair and Luxemburg is a small table next to the chair. It is a bit of a challenge to make it all be a logical and coherent palace, but it is doable. Outside of the walls would be a garden, where I again do the same for some countries. Australia becomes a pool, and new zealand is the row of pool beds next to it. Papua New Guinea is an outdoor table with two benches, and indonesia is a barbeque. All kinds of things like that. In that area you also find dozens of small islands, I have not taken the effort to insert all of those separately into the palace, I have just grouped them into Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia, which are specified more in the palace I have for those in specific.


Knowing the palace is one thing, but when faced with a map without borders it can be a challenge. So I practice it regularly with an accurate map of the world using a little globe I got on my desk.
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Very interesting, especially the paragraph “Placing the Loci”. I was doing something similar with a simplified map of china, but I was lacking that part about the loci. I was relying just on numbers following an order, not objects.

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Thank you for your reply Liam, I like to see that a similar method has worked for you! To me it is a bit of a confirmation that this method and similar ones, like yours, might work for others as well! :smiley:
Perhaps it might become a new method, or give others ideas/inspiration to help make mnemonics even more useful in more situations.

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