Geoff Cohen has been ranting entertainingly
in his blog about something he calls "real maps." It's been long known that maps are distortive -- canonically, they're not the territory -- and out of proportion --the way that the mapmaker accounts for the Earth's curvature can be intensely political, as can the decision as to where the lateral boundaries of the map occur.
But Geoff's after a simpler form of "real map" -- he wants a map "with the actual names of countries on it. If you look at a typical American-produced map, it's full of countries with names like "Germany" and "India" and "Greece" and "China" and "Japan" and "Hungary" and "Egypt," etc. etc. etc. You might not think that's strange, but the fact is that there are no such countries. Sure, we in the English speaking world may have been calling certain countries by those names, but it's not what the people who live there call them. This is ridiculous. It's time to get rid of at least one vestige of colonialism and produce an accurate map."
He's gone ahead and produced a real map of Europe. It's nice. I'm going to print it out and hang it up in my bathroom, near my shower-curtain that has a map of the world on it.
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