A Matter of Maps

April 24, 2017

Most of what was discussed in this most recent episode doesn’t require much elaboration, but I realize that not everyone is as into Sorkin as Jo, so I thought I’d take a sec to clarify the map thing.

In Season 2, Episode 16 of The West Wing, entitled, “Somebody’s Going to Jail, Somebody’s Going to Emergency,” White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg and Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman hear a pitch from the Organization of Cartographers for Social Equality on Big Block of Cheese Day (though I’m pretty sure Jo misspoke in the episode, calling it Big Cheese Day). Here’s the clip:



In case you were wondering, yeah, the Gall-Peters Projection Map IS a thing. In fact, there a number of different projections out there, and while I’m no cartographer, it appears that while all of them have their flaws, the Mercator Projection — the one we’re most familiar with — is arguably the most flawed.

Here’s a comparison for you. The black lines? That’s the Mercator Projection, or what we’re used to seeing. The green? That’s the Gall-Peters Projection. See how big the difference is?



The more you know…


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