A Question of Cartography

You see…

Africa in PerspectiveAfrica in Perspective

Is your map showing you a world that DOES NOT EXIST?

The Arno Peters map (below) isn’t perfect (every map creates some distortion), but it does address some of the overall size distortions which dominate our more well-known Mercator projections.



  1. That’s a great link. Thanks.

    I think one of the other useful tools, especially for students, is looking at resource maps. For example, a graph that shows the relative wealth or energy use of particular regions would be particularly illuminating. The same goes for population density and other indicators. I’d like to see teachers make more use of maps across various subject areas because maps are so rich in language, math, science and historical information.

  2. Definitely! They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Didn’t see the math correlation, but I imagine so.

    Resource maps, huh?

    A map that broke down the mineral-rich countries/states in African would indeed make an excellent overlay when teaching about the places with the most so-called “civil unrest.” For instance, the Democratic Republic of Congo is the single most, mineral rich country/state on the face of the Earth. It is the only place where every element necessary to build an automobile can be found in one place.

    Within these contiguous bounds, perhaps a map could show places/states with the greatest income disparities will more than likely have capital punishment. Yes, I see. Maps can be quite instructional.

  3. With respect to math, maps may be used to teach number sequences (distance lines), to reinforce skills in multiplication, addition and subtraction and more. For example, when you look at European maps, the areas detailed are relatively puny and the map scales are often as little as 10m per inch. Not so with Africa. If you were to develop similarly detailed maps of Africa, they’d cover your entire classroom — and more.

    Students can answer questions about the distance between points. They can answer questions about the distances that various people migrated over time. They can answer questions about the average distance most people are willing to live from a source of fresh water. It’s basically endless. Physical maps, as you know, also include the height of mountains and the depths of waters. Those are additional factors that can contribute to building math lessons for students.

    Discussions about natural resources lend themselves very well to lectures related to history, macro-economics, development policy and technology. The content is all right there.

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