World Maps – how do you think of the world? Well, the answer is there are many ways of looking at the world.
Robina 7 Day Doctors and Acupuncture recommends this video on world maps: Presented by Danny Dorling, this is a fascinating look at the different ways we can look at our planet:
Public schools recently announced that they will shift to using world maps based on the Peters projection. Why? Because the Peters projection accurately shows different countries’ relative sizes. Although it distorts countries’ shapes, this way of drawing a world map avoids exaggerating the size of developed nations in Europe and North America and reducing the size of less developed countries in Asia, Africa and South America.
North is up, right? Only by convention. There’s no scientific reason why north is any more up than south. Equally, we could do east-up, west-up or any other compass bearing. Purposefully reversing the typical way world maps are drawn has a similar political effect to using the Peters projection, putting more developing countries in the generally poorer southern hemisphere at the top of the map and so giving them greater significance.
Another convention of world maps is that they are centred on the prime meridian, or zero degrees longitude (east-west). But this is scientifically arbitrary, deriving from the location of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. The result is that Europe (although also Africa) is in the centre of the conventional world map – a rather colonial perspective.