Andy Woodruff takes note of the news that Boston schools are getting new world maps that try to more accurately show the true sizes of continents and countries and begins to ponder what a Boston-centric world map might look like - in lots and lots of projections.
Why don't they just look at a globe instead of trying to flatten the earth? THE EARTH IS ROUND, FOLKS!
And they're rich so they must be right.
Jokes aside, that's a pretty silly projection of the world, even if it is more accurate than the Mercator map.
That's why Mercator is bad. Gall-Peters also sucks. Winkel-tripel is the way to be!
The strength of the Mercator projection is that a straight line between points A and B makes a constant angle with north that is the same as the heading that a helmsman would use to steer a ship from A to B.
In other words, it was devised for marine navigation and first used for that purpose.
The navigational angle (as it were) is one of the strengths of the Mercator, and it may be the reason for Mercator's original widespread adoption. But another virtue of the Mercator map is that it closely approximates the correct shape of landforms at a local level. So an island that's more or less circular in real life will show up as more or less circular in Mercator; the same island in the Peters projection will show up as long and skinny in a north-south direction if it's near the equator, or long and skinny in an east-west direction if it's at a high latitude. Landforms in the mid-latitudes (incidentally, the latitudes of most of the former colonial powers!) are the only ones that are depicted in approximately their proper shape. So Iceland and Borneo are both badly distorted in the Peters projection, whereas Hokkaido and Tasmania are depicted much more accurately.
That said, I can see why preserving the correct relative areas of different countries would be desirable from a pedagogical point of view. As others have pointed out, every schoolroom should really have a globe in addition to flat maps.
It would be a great opportunity to talk with students about the problems of trying to represent something round on paper. Could have interesting discussions about the trade-offs cartographers have to make and why the projection that's best for one purpose (say navigation) isn't good for other purposes (seeing relative sizes) and comparing the differences. Meanwhile use a globe as a reference point.
its good to foster discussion about the politics behind the projections & what they mean
For kids who couldn't find Poland or Argentina or Indonesia on ANY map, I think it's fair to say that politics is the last thing they need.
The Gall-Peters is so awful, I hate to think they teach it as being the correct map. Now the kids will think Africa looks like a wet rag hanging on a towel rack.
Boston Magazine map would include Cambridge, Somerville, Newton and Brookline but not Mattapan, West Roxbury or Roslindale.
Jeff Sanchez's map includes JP, Mission Hill, Roxbury but definitely not Roslindale.
Steve Murphy's map is actually of Florida.
A Boston (the band) centric map would, of course, be of New Hampshire.
I would like some sea monsters in the harbor and a warning that "Here there be baby whales."
Someone says baby wheels and i spit up my milk through my nose.
We doubt any maps except those produced by propagandist imperialist colonial cartographers will ever be found in a human classroom. Any recognition of our legitimate claims to our ancestral lands is contrary to the institutionalized whitewashing of the occupation and oppression of our noble kind.
Think you mean carturkraphy
But it's no authagraph projection.
Oh, just go to Spencer Gifts at the mall and buy the old "A Bostonian's View of the World" black & white line poster.
Maybe an updated, commercially-sponsored version with accurate locations for all Dunkin Donuts.
Gall-Peters is a bad choice. It distorts shape as badly as Mercator distorts size. Winkel-tripel for all! (Or, if you want to be really subversive, a series of Dymaxion.)
Because they consulted with ODT, a Massachusetts based company that is the exclusive North American publisher of Gall-Peters projection maps. If I go to a Buick dealer they will try to sell me a Buick, even if a Jeep is more suited to my needs.
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