Our maps are wrong

Map of the World

I’m applying for a visa to visit China in May and when I went to the web site I encountered this map.

Now many countries place themselves in the middle of the map of the world – including the UK (though you could argue that’s the “right” way to do it as we’re on the Greenwich meridian… but then, we didn’t ask for China’s permission to do that, so go figure). So this isn’t a post about how everyone else does it wrong and “how crazy are the Chinese, look at this map!” Instead I thought it worth pointing out that our view of the world is not the same as other people’s. And none of us are right.

Which reminds me of one of my favourite sequences from The West Wing in which the power of maps to distort reality is illustrated rather powerfully. Enjoy.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8zBC2dvERM]

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