This is Part 2 of a multi-part entry into the process and pains of the creation of JPL’s map of Isla Sorna. Eventually these entries will be merged into one article and made part of the Encyclopedia.
Determining the specific locations for various events was a complicated task. There was no existing map to draw reference from, and so any clue as to the location of, say, the high hide was hidden within the film. We were required to look at dialogue exchange and the physical features of the island as a primary source. In situations where that did not provide enough of a framework, such as the exact location of the trailers, logic and deductive reasoning were required in order to eliminate other potential locations.
The most sound method was to refer to specific dialogue or plot elements for clues, then fall back on features of the landscape, and then finally determine any other elements to come to a conclusion. Going over each and every point of reference in this article would be tedious, to say the least. However, you can get an idea for the process if we look at the location of the Operations Center (sometimes referred to as the worker’s village) and why we put it where we did.
Let’s look at the evidence. The location of the village was stated to be in the center of the island. We also have Roland’s comment to Ian and Ajay during the night (after Roland returns from finding Dater’s body, and just before the two rexes attack) that “the Operation’s Building is right down in there, about a mile and a half from the base of these cliffs.” This gives us three frames of reference; the village is in the middle of the island, is at a low elevation change (they have to go down cliffs to reach it), and is approximately a mile and a half away from the cliff side or ridge (this also gives us a clue as to where the temporary camp is located, but we will come to that later). A fourth piece of evidence comes in the form of the Velociraptors, which seem to be stationed in droves around the village. Combine that with Ludlow’s comment about the group having to worry about Velociraptors and we are led to the conclusion that the village lies near the raptor territory as seen on Hammond’s computer near the beginning of the film.
Now that all of this evidence is compiled we can turn to the map, looking specifically at the area in the center of the island near the Velociraptors. From there we look for a lowland area with a positive change in elevation and see if we can put the village about 1.5 miles from that cliff side. Working with the map we are able to put in place an “approximate location.” It is important to note that sometimes locations would be changed as other factors became apparent, or new information was brought to light. The location of the game trail, for example, changed considerably during our analysis from the middle of the island down to the south to then up to the north.
Based upon film evidence and working with the map we believe that the events unfolded as such.
The Mar Del Plata, the boat hired by Hammond’s team, approaches the island from the north. It heads south along the eastern coast of Sorna before landing in a lagoon. After unloading the vehicles Hammond’s team heads north, following a dirt road toward the location where (presumably) Sarah should be located. They park the trailers near a set of cliffs in the northern-most area of the island and power on their GPS units, heading back south to rendezvous with Sarah.
After finding her and heading back north towards camp they discover that Kelly has stowed aboard the trailers (it is by now getting close to “dinner time”). Within minutes they watch Ludlow’s team (“the hunters”) as they approach from the north and head along the eastern coast of Sorna, soon landing a few miles south of the trailers on a game trail. Hammond’s team jumps in their Jeeps to follow the helicopters and survey the hunters.
Ludlow's Team approaching from the north.
The hunters travel westward along the game trail, into the setting sun. Roland and Ajay, during a break, discover a set of Tyrannosaurus footprints disappearing into the jungle toward the southwest. The rest of the hunter team continues their work while Roland and Ajay track the footprints back to the Rex Nest, about five miles to the southwest. They return with the infant by nightfall. The hunters, heeding Roland’s earlier advice, make camp off the game trail (unbeknownst to them just a mile or two from the trailers). Roland and Ajay set up their hunting blind nearby.
Roland and the rest of the hunters drive into the setting sun during the roundup scene.
A view of the coast from Hammond's team's scouting location, showing the ocean behind the game trail.
With light filtering in through the trees Roland and Ajay have reach the rex nest before nightfall.
By the time Nick and Sarah begin their sabotage of the hunter camp “mommy and daddy” have already discovered that their infant is missing and are heading north while Ian, Kelly, and Eddie head back to the trailers. Eddie begins setting up the high hide.
Eventually Roland and the other hunters realize they have company on the island and head north along the dirt road, hoping to find the other humans. Sarah and Nick work on setting the infant rex’s leg as the adults get closer, passing under the high hide and likely passing the hunters as well (who hide, of course). Eventually they reach the trailers and, after getting their infant back, push the trailers over the cliff. Eddie leaves Kelly in the high hide and takes the Jeep to help; not long afterwords the hunters reach Kelly and bring her along with them (likely thinking her safer with a group of guys holding big guns). Soon the adults return to kill Eddie, then leave again. The hunters finally reach the trailer site, just in time to help the remains of Hammond’s team to safety. All the survivors together then regroup back at the destroyed hunter camp.
The survivors return to the hunter camp to regroup, salvage equipment, discuss their options, and just generally argue.
After arguing and much deliberation it is agreed that the survivors will travel to the Operations Center in the workers village, Ludlow citing this trip to take “a day’s walk, maybe more.” They head south before dawn breaks, eventually passing by the coast in the wee hours of the morning. They are soon set upon by a shower which passes quickly. Sometime in the second half of the trek they are forced to walk north around a set of intertwining mountain ranges, doubling their travel time (where otherwise they would have headed due west and made the trip in about 10 hours), and pass near the location of Cathy’s beach (the beach where Cathy, the young girl, was attacked by Compsognathus at the beginning of the film). This is indicated by identical mountain ranges in the backgrounds of both shots. Here they hear the distant roar of a Tyrannosaurus, likely one of the adults following the scent of blood on Sarah’s jacket.
Cathy Bowman as she encounters the first Compsognathus. Note the mountain range in the top left corner of the image.
The same mountain range as above, behind the survivors, as they continue their trek to the Operations Center.
In the late afternoon Roland stops the group just a few miles short of the village, checking on Sarah’s health. Dieter takes the time to relieve himself but is frightened by a compy and takes a tumble, injuring himself. He is soon killed a distance away from the rest of the survivors, whom start start moving again. About 15 minutes later they realize Dieter is missing. Roland tells the rest of the group to continue on, as they are “ten minutes” away from the ridge where they will take a few hours rest. He and a small group of hunters head back to find Dieter.
Roland and the others eventually rendezvous with the rest of the survivors at the ridge some time in the night. Roland implies he had taken a detour close to the village before returning back (“I’ve seen it”) and comments that in one hour they will make the final stretch to the village, “about a mile and a half from the base of [the] cliffs.” At this point the adult rexes have caught up to the survivors and attack them, actually pushing everyone toward the village. The survivors of the rex attack wade through raptor territory in the long grass. Few survive. Ian, Nick, Sarah, and Kelly make it through the grass and fall down a short incline to come level with the village. Nick runs ahead to the Operations Center to call for help, eventually being joined by the others after the raptors attack in the village. They all get flown to safety. Back at the ridge Roland has captured the male rex and eventually also gets flown to safety with the rest of InGen’s workers.
Admittedly the only snag in this line of reasoning is the location of the rex nest, which is not in the same location as Hammond’s thermal scans show back in his bedroom. However, this is one of the situations where film evidence begins to contradict itself. Factually, there is no way that Roland and Ajay could have made it to the rex nest from the game trail in the amount of time they had were that nest in the location that Hammond’s computer suggests; it was too late in the day for a trek of that length. Moving the game trail inland would not work to correct this imbalance as film evidence shows the game trail running along the coast. Thus, in the interest of creating a map that doesn’t involve random teleportation of the protagonists we decided that Hammond’s map is either not showing nesting sites, is blatantly wrong, or there is more than one rex family on Sorna. The latter is actually a fair assumption, since a viable population would have to include more than a single mated pair and their one offspring.
Hammond's computer indicates rex territory somewhere in the middle of the island. Either this is simply a "current position" marker or another rex family's territory, since Roland and Ajay could never have made it to this location before nightfall.
Contradictions make the process difficult, though not impossible; not until Jurassic Park III anyway.
Continued in Part 3…