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Yertle-Gall Stereographic | by oschene
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Yertle-Gall Stereographic

So, [sips drink] there are these cartographers, down the street from where we work, they draw maps. Not their own, really -- they just take a projection some dead guy did a gazillion years ago, stretch it a bit, change the name and then, this is the good part, they flip it, north-south, so that Australia and Tierra del Fuego are way at the top, where you might expect to see Greenland and cold Kamchatka. Because they believe that we've been educated in such a way that we unconsciously perceive objects at the top of a map as being more important than objects at the bottom of a map.

 

Nice map, colorful and that. Visually satisfying, sure. But when you look at it, all you can see is the gimmick subversion of the dominant paradigm. It's a map for people who are very concerned that other people don't know how maps work.

 

We'll concede all that. North is privilege. Catbird seat. But perhaps we should emphasize that element in our map-making, so that it's obvious and manifest to our viewers that all we're really looking to see in a map is the world in its relation to the most important person in it.

 

Thus, the Yertle-Gall Stereographic projection, named for the hapless dead guy we stole it from and a local turtle, who once famously stacked up all the other turtles in his pond, to get a stereographic view of his domain. Here, our location on the planet is the North Pole and everything else is somewhere to the south of us. As it should be.

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Uploaded on March 21, 2015