The Man Who Walks the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Walk

Pace professor Bob Benjes doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk and then maps the map.

Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest has become a literary (and now, film) phenomenon. Since its debut, people have travelled from all over the world to Sweden to spend time walking in fictional journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer-hacker Lisbeth Salander’s footsteps.

One such man would be Seidenberg adjunct professor Bob Benjes, who has taken the extra step to make your walk a lot easier. If you want a first-hand look into the detective fiction novels without paying for the airfare, hotel, and stay, Benjes has created a virtual walk, using pictures and video of some of the character’s popular hangouts.

Benjes, whose wife is Swedish and works for Visit Sweden, was visiting the country and planning on taking the Millennium Tour, when his wife suggested they document it.

“I said, ‘give me a dollar, and I’ll do it,’” Benjes said.  And so his hobby turned into a paid gig. How to put it all together was the easy part.

A 25-year veteran of Pace, Benjes taught Information Technology for Strategic Community Planning in fall 2010, a course on integrated mapping where students eventually generated their own Google Maps, including celebrity chef restaurants and artist galleries in NYC, a volunteer project with the New York Public Library on georectification, and even a map tracking pollution in the United States

“Pick your fifty favorite restaurants in NYC. You send me a list and addresses. I can return you a Google Map in about 20 minutes,” Benjes said. “The ability to do that was completely unheard of five years ago; 10 years ago people would walk out of the room if you mentioned such things.”

Benjes calls his Millennium Walk an “evolving project” and will continue to make updates to it. In addition to the Millennium Tour, Benjes is also working on a Google Map featuring photographer Berenice Abbott’s Changing New York project, where he maps some of her popular photographs, and then captures the same photo more than half a century later.

“If she took a picture of 103 Bowery on May 30, 1937, I put that picture on a map. Then, on May 30, 2011, I’ll go to 103 Bowery and try to take the same picture and put the two together,” he says.

Benjes hopes to continue teaching integrated mapping courses at Pace—“The more I do with the mapping, the more I want to share with students.”

Click here to view Benjes’ Millenium Walk in Google Maps.