June 6th, 2013

Inside ancient non-Western cities

This question is party preemptive, as this is an item that is highly likely to arise many times over the course of this book. Recently I have been banging my head against Google trying to find a map of Qufu (Lu state, future China) in the 6th century BCE. What I need is the inside of the city: its layout, internal roads, etc., and what I am getting is a lot of maps of China with a dot telling where Qufu is. So:

Where can I find maps of the insides of ancient Eurasian cities, if they even exist at all, particularly when I don't speak the languages of the places in question?

Right now I seek a map of Qufu sometime in the realm of 500 BCE.
In a little while I'll be looking for Bodh Gaya & environs, also at a time near to 500 BCE.
This is going to keep going for a while, from Qufu to Rome, in the centuries following 551 BCE. Rome, and some major cities close to it, will have tons of Ancient World maps available, sometimes with a large variety of short time periods, but further east my Google Fu falls short. (I expect similar difficulties with non-Northern Africa; that will be about 800 CE.)

History of the search:
Most of it has been in Google images, containing various combinations of the phrases: Qufu, 500 bc, 6th century bc, Lu, map, layout, bc, ancient. A few of these I've entered into Google web search. I've discovered some very nice historical map sites, but nothing zooms in closer than the division of the Zhou states--or the relative locations of cities in the Persian Empire, or other similarly broad descriptions of regions. Of course I've viewed the Wikipedia pages for Lu and Qufu. On my library's catalog site I've searched by selecting combinations of categories including "China--historical--700 to 261 BC," "China--architecture," "China--non-fiction," plus some other similar ones I can't remember, narrowing it also by language and media type, specifically excluding categories with dates outside of my range or that referred to fiction. So far the best I've come up with is a map--all in low-resolution Chinese characters--for the capital of the Qi state next to Lu in the appropriate period. Considering this and Qufu's significance and history I find it not unlikely that a map exists, and as this book is aimed at an audience interested in history it would be negligent not to look harder, but I'm now at a loss as to how to look.

I am extremely grateful for all and any aide.

Taxi dispatches, CB radios, and vehicle identification

Setting: Toronto, 1979-80
Search attempts: Taxi dispatches, taxi CB radio, CB radio channels taxi, taxi vehicle identification, listening very closely to the radio whenever I'm riding in a cab

The protagonist of my story is a cab driver who's just had his car stolen and used in an exciting high-speed chase. He's trying to track it down with little success—the police are unhelpful, the news doesn't give a clear picture of where the chase is headed, and he's without vehicle or wallet. I had the idea of him finding another cab driver and trying to make contact with his own car—successfully or otherwise, since his car is actually at the bottom of the Don Valley by the time he finds it—over the dispatch system.

So my questions:

1. Back in the day, would most taxis have CB radios so that drivers could communicate with each other? Would each company have their own channel? Is there a way to get in contact with a particular vehicle, or would he just put a call out to everyone?

2. I assume they wouldn't use the same code or slang as truckers, but was there any sort of specialized language or jargon that he might use?

3. How are vehicles identified within taxi companies? (I.e., can I have him say, "I'm looking for Crown Taxi car #12345" or something to that effect?)

4. Assuming that the owner of the company is a jerk, which he is going to be, what kind of consequences would my character be looking at once the totaled cab is discovered?

Useful source - Naiomi Mitchison bibliography

I don't know if anyone in the community will be interested in this, but if they are: a VERY exhaustive bibliography of author, poet and journalist Naomi Mitchison (1897-1999) has just gone on line, covering well over a thousand books, articles, etc. and hosting a previously unpublished story. Mitchison was a very significant figure in 20th century British literature, and seems to have known everyone worth knowing in literature, art, politics, and science through most of the century. Her stories and articles reflect this and shed a lot of light on the period.

Naomi Mitchison - Towards a bibliography
Compiled by Violet Williams, Roger Robinson and Caroline Mullan

This was originally going to be published as a print book, but it apparently became clear that (a) it was going to be near impossible to track down everything she ever wrote, even with her cooperation and the help of Violet Williams, her secretary, and (b) it was going to be a ridiculously big book. Accordingly, they've decided to put it on line as an ongoing project here, as a joint venture by Beccon Publications and the Science Fiction Foundation.

Note - there are probably at least 20 tags that apply to Mitchison's career and life - I've gone with the most obvious, mods please change if there's anything that seems wrong.