Geography 970

March 3, 2010

maps can make anything pretty (and comfortably far-away)

Filed under: Uncategorized — markharrower @ 9:56 am

Two thoughts here: (1) Great to see mapping being used for something important. And (2) the critical cartographer in me worries about showing powerful, tragic human experiences as a bunch of tidy maps seen comfortably-off from space using pleasing colors and crisp formal linework. The world is bloody, messy, and incomplete: Something for which a pie chart is a poor, even cruel, choice. If ever there was a topic that needed a new approach to how we construct map-based narratives…

Eyes on Pakistan



  1. When I first saw this map without looking at the legend, I thought it depicts the concentration of some chemical element or species in a lake. I think the heat map should be transparent and superimposed on top of the base map. Otherwise, it seems a little confusing.

    As Mark mentioned, an interesting issue is whether we should make a pretty map for some very serious issues, such as cirme or pollution. For analysis purpose(like geovisualization or GIS), it is fine, but for educational or communication purpose, is it suitable? It seems that cartographers tend to make their maps beautiful.

    Comment by Fei Du — March 11, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

  2. […] pm We’ve had a recurring theme on this blog about pushpin symbology and the appropriate depiction of life-and-death events.  I just read this interesting NYT article about the right-wing anger over the Obama health […]

    Pingback by Where are the pushpins when we need them? « Geography 970 — March 28, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

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