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The map, as an innovation, is extremely important. Simply constructing a useful representation of our world onto a piece of paper (or clay or vellum or whatever) vastly increased the capabilities of humankind. But we continue to add and alter this medium, in ways that allow for greater understanding of our world and even of ourselves.

So in this video I talk about 42 maps that are really amazing.

Resources that were very helpful included:
http://www.reddit.com/r/mapporn
http://www.worldmapper.org/index.html
http://www.twitter.com/amazing_maps
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/maplab/
And this story is just AMAZING
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/09/jerry-gretzinger-map-ukrania/

Thanks to Katherine for being my research assistant on this one :-)

ALL THE MAPS!
United States on the Moon
http://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/18gyym/to_give_some_sense_of_scale_the_united_states/

Carta Marina:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carta_marina

The Town of Chicago
http://www.oldimprints.com/pages/books/46792/illinois-chicago/map-of-chicago-incorporated-as-a-town-august-5-1833

Pomponius Mela
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomponius_Mela

Seven Billions
http://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/104wwo/seven_billions_the_world_divided_into_seven/

Australia is Empty
http://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/1ibsap/2_of_australias_population_lives_here_oc1501x1402/

More in than Out
http://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/1dqh7d/after_seeing_a_recent_post_about_the_population/

...Actual Circle
http://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/1dsssf/there_are_more_people_living_inside_this_circle/

Longest Straight Line
http://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/15mwai/the_longest_straight_line_you_can_sail_almost/

On a Globe
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpQwuGueeoA&feature=youtu.be

Earth Sandwich Locations
http://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/1iy7xm/land_on_earth_where_there_is_also_land_the_other/

Alcoholic Drink Preference
http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/publications/global_alcohol_report/en/

Side of the Road
http://chartsbin.com/view/edr

Joshua Katz Linguistic Maps of America
http://www.businessinsider.com/22-maps-that-show-the-deepest-linguistic-conflicts-in-america-2013-6?op=1

Metric Use
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Metric_system.png

Maternity Leave
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2013/02/17/opinion/17coontz2-map/17coontz2-map-popup.png

Juvenile Death Penalty
http://www.prisonpolicy.org/atlas/juvenile_dp_in_modern_world.html

World Mapper
http://www.worldmapper.org

Carna Botnet Project
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carna_Botnet

A Day in the Life of Air Traffic
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1L4GUA8arY

Population by Latitude
http://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/1dddhq/worlds_population_by_latitude_longitude_xpost/

The True Size of Africa
http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2010/11/cartography

Ptolemy's Map
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptolemy's_world_map

The Sawley Map
http://blog.metmuseum.org/penandparchment/exhibition-images/cat300r2_49e/
Good morning John. Today I'm going to introduce you to some maps. 42 maps that help me understand the world and my place in it.

Maps are an amazing kind of art - they tend to represent reality but they don't have to. They can put lots of information into perspective. They can be extremely information dense and I love information density which is why I cut all of the breaths out of my videos. Historical maps don't just tell you about the world, they tell you about the world that they were created during - which is really amazing. And not just what the world looked like then but also how little we knew about the world back then.

When I'm reading Game Of Thrones, I'm always super frustrated because they haven't mapped the whole world yet and I'm like "If you go West from Westeros, what's over there?". It's just amazing to realize that the majority of people who lived in the world so far didn't know what the whole world looked like. That just, it seems terrifying to me. But once we had the global maps, we started using them for more than just representing the world so you could navigate it or divide it up into things that were owned by different people and countries.

It became an interesting and useful way to display and understand data about the world. Population probably being the most obvious example. Here's (1:00) the world split up into seven different regions each with about one billion people and yes, that is North and South America and Australia just making up one of them. Australia is mostly empty - only 2% of people live in the highlighted area. Inside this (1:13) circle, there are more people living, than outside of that circle.
 Actually, its this (1:19) circle because things get distorted when you take a Globe and unwrap it into a flat rectangular map. Which is why this (1:25) weird curvy line is actually the longest straight line you can sail without running into land. Here (1:31) it is actually projected onto a Globe - see straight line.  The sailing route is only possible, of course, because the Earth is mostly water which becomes more evident when you look at the places that you could actually make an Earth Sandwich - by which I mean that there is actually land on both side of the planet in those places. 


Maps can also show preferences of course, for alcoholic drinks (1:47); for sides of the road (1:48); for how to pronounce caramel or car-a-mel (1:50); or what to call cola, soda pop, cokes (1:53); or systems of measurement (1:54) and yes the US is lagging a little bit behind in the metric system there. Also in  Maternity Leave (1:58), also in executing juveniles (2:00), that's a little embarrassing. 

World Mapper is an amazing website and software tool that distorts the world based on data because really, is the amount of land a country has, the most important thing about that country? Of course its not. Here (2:14) the world is morphing from a map that shows the amount of land that each country has to the people that each country has. While in this (2:18) World Mapper map, we see the number of internet users swelling from 2000 to 2007.

These moving maps that stretch into the dimension of time are some of my favorites. For example, this (2:26) one that shows internet usage over a 24-hour period and this (2:29) one that shows global flights over a 24-hour period. Wow!

Now as much as maps can help us understand the world, they can also distort our perceptions of the world. For example the Mercator Map Projection (2:39) which we often use, stretches out the world at the Poles. In this map (2:44), Africa looks like its about the size of Greenland but in fact, Africa is big. Very big. The continent of Africa is bigger than the United States, France, Germany, Spain, the UK, all of Eastern Europe, China and India. What?

Also, North being up is completely arbitrary (3:02) and its kind of convenient it turns out because most people actually do live in the Northern Hemisphere (3:07). In the Western World, we started out with North being up (3:08) with Ptolemy but then we switched  so that East was up (3:11) so that when you said "To Orient", to orient your map, you were pointing toward the Orient. We switched back to the North being on top because we got obsessed with the Greeks during the Renaissance, if you were wondering.

We live in a big, complicated world, sometimes wonderful, sometimes terrible, always impossible to understand completely. But the people who use these data and these tools to make these constructions of reality so that we can better understand our world are some of the heroes of the modern age. Hats off to them and to our ever changing, wonderful world.

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.