The map that we studiously memorized during grade school was actually based on a cartographer’s projections from 1569, so we were well overdue for an update. The AuthaGraph World Map by Hajime Narukawa, recent Grand Award recipient of Japan’s Good Design Award, attempts to remedy some of the many inaccuracies in previous models. The result is a map that more correctly represents the distances between continents and displays the true size of countries and continents. For example, on the old map, Greenland looks to be about the same size as Africa when in actuality Africa is about fourteen times the size of Greenland. Antarctica, which is depicted on old maps as covering a large and sprawling area, is now much smaller. The continent is bested in size by all others except for Australia and Europe. While this new map is a step forward in clearly and accurately representing both land and sea, it will also require updates and revisions as climate change results in issues including melting glaciers and reduced land mass. The map is used in Japanese textbooks, but we’re looking forward to other countries adopting this more realistic version and providing our kids (and us) with a truer representation of the great spinning globe on which we live.
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