Thursday, April 12, 2012

Don’t forget the app: Compass

Recently, I went to Oakland Cemetery for some photo-ops. I’ve been there several times, and each time I’ve focused on something different. This time was flowers.

I bet you’re wondering why I’d go to a cemetery to take photos of flowers. You’re probably asking, “Aren’t there better places to do that?” There are certainly different places to do that, but not necessarily better.

James Liley marker and flowers
For those of you that aren’t familiar with Oakland, it was established in 1850, is on the historic registry, and it is technically an Atlanta City Park. That’s part of the reason it’s so different. It actually feels like walking thru a miniature neighborhood—from the brick-lined paths to the spectacular architecture of the mausoleums. I’ve spent a couple of visits focusing on just that.

I was scurrying around looking for flowers and concentrating on the best angle to photograph the flowers, but also to include something interesting in the background. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a couple of fellas running around, and it seemed they were on a mission to find something in particular.

A few minutes later, they came back around, but were about 40 feet away when one of them said loudly enough for me to hear, “Have y’all seen where Margaret Mitchell is buried?”

Richards Mausoleum and cactus/flowers
I wasn’t the only person in the area, so I glanced about to see if there were a couple of people that he was directing his question to—after all, y’all means more than one in Southern speak. There wasn’t anyone there, so I knew he must be asking me.

Although I did wonder later if there was someone with me that I didn’t know was there—I mean, this is a cemetery. But don’t let me scare you away—any ghosts at Oakland are happy we are visiting and loving their home.

I answered back that I had seen her grave, but didn’t know specifically where it is. Noticing that he was holding one of the maps that can be purchased in the Visitor’s Center, I offered to help him. My first thought was that if some of the larger landmarks are marked, it would be fairly easy to figure out.

I tend to get somewhat turned around inside Oakland, and I often use the Visitor’s Center building as a visual to help navigate my way out to find my car again. As a result, I was not positive of this, but I said, “Are you sure the map is turned the correct direction?”

He said, as he pointed, “Well, north is this way and the map is marked north on this side.” Starting to second-guess himself, he commented to his friend, “Maybe that’s the problem—maybe the map is turned the wrong way.”

Tiny Compass - free app
It was at that moment that it hit me, I have a compass app on my phone, and I said, “Wait just a minute and I’ll double check.” I pulled my phone out of my pocket, navigated to the app, and sure enough, he did have the map turned the wrong way. A little later our paths crossed again, and I asked if they found Margaret Mitchell and they said yes. I was glad I could help.

I am still getting used to thinking of all of the uses my smart phone can provide. I have only had it for about three months, so it’s not second nature yet. However, I think this experience helped to reinforce that thought process a little.

By the way, Oakland now has walking cell-phone tours. I haven’t tried them out yet, but it sounds like a great idea to me. Just one more use for your cell phone and another excuse to visit Oakland again.

Question: Have you found your way using a compass app?

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