Continuing from the previous July postings about Simon Garfield's ode to maps, On the Map: A Mind Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks (2013) I am listing personal maps that have stuck in my mind. As Simon writes, “when we gaze a map--any map, in any format from any era -- we still find nothing so much as history and ourselves.”
Mercator vs. Peters-Gall
Similiar to making globes representing the spherical Earth on a flat piece of paper presents it's problems. As a youth, our classrooms were always decorated with the Mercator World Map, which at that time seemed to be the map standard. Little did I know that it was based on the work of Gerardus Mercatur (1512-1594) who addressed the sphere problem by bowing the lines at a certain degree. This somewhat distorted the map into making it European and Greenland centric and de-emphasing South America and Africa. Or course, I didn't know this. I kept thinking, "Greenland is damn big."
Then came along Arno Peters (1916-2002) in the 1970s who claimed that his Peters Projection map developed along with James Gall was more accurate portrayal of size of land masses even though the masses themselves are distorted. I keep a Peters Map on my cube wall and it never fails to elicit a response of bewilderment even though this interpertation of the world has been around a long time.
Of course I am always trying really trying get quizzical looks from my cube visitors, so I keep my Jasper Johns print of the United States (a sorry example of museum impulse buying) pinned to my wall . It doesn't have any thing "useful" like state capitals or highways, but it is colorful.