To the best of my knowledge, it was one of this blog's followers, "Bad News," who originally came up with the interpretation that these were paired geographical coordinates of latitude and longitude (in decimal format), each pair of coordinates thus defining a point.
It is worth pointing out that this shape recalls Clue #1, part of the solution of which is the phrase, "6 points of the Star of David" -- a shape shown here on a continental scale. In that clue, the phrase was encoded in an initial-letter cipher, a traditional Masonic code in use in the real world for almost three centuries.
It also is noteworthy that 5 of the 6 points are in the territory of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite. (Only Grand Rapids, MI, is in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.) This is important because of a quirk in the Dan Brown universe.
- David Ovason, The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington, DC (New York: HarperCollins, 2000).
- Warren Getler and Bob Brewer, Shadow of the sentinel: One man's quest to find the hidden treasure of the confederacy (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003; the 2005 paperback is titled Rebel Gold).
Each of these books makes claims about a man named Albert Pike, who led the Scottish Rite in the Southern Jurisdiction for many years in the 19th century. In particular, the Getler and Brewer book claims that Albert Pike was secretly in league with the Knights of the Golden Circle (Clue #34) a group that supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. According to Getler and Brewer, Pike helped conceal billions of dollars in Confederate gold for use in a future Civil War.
Getler and Brewer write that they build their case on evidence that is circumstantial. I do not think that this is true. In my estimate, their case does not ascend to the level of the circumstantial. Rather, as I see it, their case is essentially built on speculation, even fantasy. They present not a shred of actual evidence to support their case regarding Pike and his allegiances.
However, this might not matter to Dan Brown. Thus, what we may see in The Lost Symbol is a backstory like the following: During the 19th century, there was a conspiracy where Albert Pike helped the Knights of the Golden Circle to hide billions of dollars in Confederate gold at facilities of the Scottish Rite, especially of the Southern Jurisdiction, facilities that were widely scattered about the United States. In the current day, these billions are now about to be put at the disposal of some contemporary Conspiracy, no doubt for nefarious purposes.
The Technological Interpretation
Flashing forward to Clue #97, we find a reference to a classified hypersonic reconnaissance aircraft, the Aurora, described as a "Black Triangle." On our map above, we have two black triangles. How might these be connected?
The Aurora is estimated at being capable of speeds between Mach 5 and Mach 6 (roughly 3,300 to 4000 mph). If one is going to test fly a hypersonic aircraft like this, one must fly it over immense distances. Each of the triangles on the map above could be traversed in roughly an hour by the Aurora, flying at top speed; this would be a good period of time for a test flight.
Thus, it may be that the map is meant to show the flight paths of two test flights for the Aurora aircraft. In The Lost Symbol, the Aurora might be involved in high-tech surveillance -- or, perhaps in something that was more materially destructive. (How could you shoot down a hypersonic bomber that could outrun any missile sent against it?)
High stakes -- that's what I think will find in The Lost Symbol: the highest of stakes.
[The image of the United States with the intersecting triangles was created by the blog author, working with a public domain image of the map of the U.S. located by Kathleen Koltko-Rivera.]