Art gets more interesting when it happens outdoors. There's the drama of finding it, for one thing. Is that bag of abandoned macramé actually abandoned, or is it a statement? Is that parking booth for real, or was it created by someone with an MFA? Did the person who stenciled the concrete along Balmy Alley to look like a koi pond realize that half the neighborhood goes back there to take a dump, meaning that the koi look like they're swimming placidly past tiny alps of human waste? So many questions, left unanswered by a merciful absence of an artist's statement ("These koi are a metaphorical embodiment of my ritualized childhood sexual abuse...")
Art involving the out of doors is also appealingly democratic. In the same way that anyone can leave cat-scratched Ikea furniture on the street in front of your apartment, anyone with the will and the rental fee can get a hold of a bus and organize Situationist city tours (see: e-Xplo collective, page 98) or to the Chevron refinery in Richmond, California (see: Center for Land Use Interpretation, page 44.) Anyone with a printer can hand out brochures at the Los Angeles County Fair (see: Los Angeles County Rangers, page 144.)
The cartographic section of the book is, somehow not surprisingly, the part that works the best. Some of the maps in Experimental Geography, like Bill Rankin's mapping of his main pathways through each city he's lived in, are lovely and thoughtful. But other selections are shrunk down so far that they can only be read with a magnifying glass. Still others are so badly designed they would make Edward Tufte break into hives. Your reader is left with the impression that the authors could have tried a lot harder.
Take those bus tours for example. What might a reader expect? Perhaps some transcripts from said audio tours? A list of sites visited? No such luck. What you get is a photograph of a lonely bus viewed across a plain of blurry gravel (e-Xplo collective) and a few placards advertising gallery shows (Center for Land Use Interpretation.) Those looking for more insight into what amazing weirdness the Center for Land Use Interpretation is actually up to are better off just searching the Center's database and organizing their own field excursions.
Your reader is left with the sad conclusion that art involving the out-of-doors is not good at reproducing itself in book form. Once art has left two dimensionality it's hard to squeeze back into 2-D. Especially when that most annoying of dimensions, time, is added to the mix. Perhaps if Experimental Geography were 24,901.55 miles wide. And 24,859.82 miles tall. And spheroid. And covered in dirt. And asphalt. And seawater. And 6,707 million people. The only problem remaining then would be fitting it on a bookshelf.