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Hating on Haiti Mappers

April 19, 2010

Why make a map when a graph is better?

In the wake of a disaster or a major world event, one of the first instincts of the media (and rightly so)

Little known fact - the U.S. actually invaded Egypt in 2003

is to make a map educating the public where the disaster is. In this initial rush, some mistakes are forgivable (such as the poor initial georeferencing on the this very cool NYtimes interactive feature that has now been corrected). Though some are pretty horrible (see right).

In any case, there is no excuse, a month after the disaster, for making the map below. (Original link so that you can see it in its full size/glory).

Why is this so bad you ask? Oh, let me list the ways:

1) It it meant to feature a tropical country, yet uses the Mercator projection to do so – this projection diminishes the size of equatorial countries and exaggerates those near the poles (more on why this projection is evil, and what it is, in a later post, I promise)

2) Why is Russia green? Why is Canada green? and why are some of the islands they own white?

3)It is utterly, utterly confusing – so yes, all lines go from donors nations to Haiti, but it is quite the tangled mess. Can you tell where all those lines are going? If so, I have a project for you.

So how could one remake this map for the better? How about a graph next time. You can still use the same data. I promise.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 19, 2011 10:43 pm

    Scouring old posts on this blog for laughs. Here are some other things (I know nothing about maps except that they’re cool):
    -Where’s Greenland?! It’s not exactly easy to miss, especially on a Mercator projection…
    -Svalbard should also match that ugly grayish color that the cartographer used for the rest of Norway. and Tasmania should be puke-lime-green.
    -Why is Guyana in Africa? Is it because there are black people there?
    -Also, why has Brazil usurped some, but not all, of the land that actually makes up Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana? (I’m not even sure if this is accurate)

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