Thursday, May 28, 2020

How to Persuade with Maps

The Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library has created an online exhibition which explores how maps can distort the truth. The exhibition includes a number of interactive maps which have been used to visualize how cartographers attempt to represent reality and how that representation always involves some form of distortion.

In Bending Lines: Maps and Data from Distortion to Deception a number of maps from the library's collection (and from elsewhere) are used to illustrate the choices that cartographers make when illustrating the real world. The exhibition is divided into thematic sections. The first section looks at how maps are used to persuade in politics, business and other areas of life. The second section looks more closely at the technical decisions made by cartographers when mapping a three dimensional world in two dimensions (lots on map projections). The third section looks more closely at who makes our maps and whose world views are being portrayed in those maps. Each of these sections is illustrated with a carefully selected choice of interactive maps.

Many of the interactive maps in the exhibition are accompanied with an 'education tour'. These education tours include a number of questions about the highlighted map which are designed to encourage readers to think about the choices the cartographer has made in creating the map. Each map is also accompanied with details on the year it was created, who it was made by and which map collection it belongs to.

No comments: