In the spirit of partial confession, I admit that I’m hopelessly no good in a lot more things than I’m any good at. Geography and orienteering is one of my more annoying shortcomings. The other day, I came across an interesting article that made me feel better.
The article was about a Reddit user, going under the moniker zaaakk. Either out of sheer curiosity or curiosity mixed with love of geography, entirely on his own, zaaakk conducted a research. He wanted to see just how many people in his not-so-numerous sampling of 30 people can draw a map of the world from memory. Most importantly, how this map would look like.
‘To give an idea of the population sampled, I did this in the summer of 2012 at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus,’ said zaaakk.
‘Most were 18-22, and there was a roughly even split between male and female. I’m pretty sure they were all American except one Italian guy.’
The result was a “map” that is a combination of 30 drawings created by students from Michigan. It reveals that much geographical liberties were taken with respect to continents and grand larceny committed against islands and whole archipelagos.
- Most people missed out New Zealand, Madagascar and Scandinavia;
- Greenland and chunks of the Indian subcontinent also didn’t make the cut.
If you are a Reddit user, you might’ve seen it posted there.
The New Yorker from March 1976 (price of the issue ran 75 cents then) ran a “how New Yorkers see the world” cover. It pretty much adhered to my own view of the word then, even though I haven’t visited New York until much later and, in 1976, admired the Big Apple across the pond.
MAD magazine cleverly parodied the old New Yorker cover — the Big Apple “now using Apple Maps”. It mightily amused people everywhere. Now, almost everybody in the world could delight in the knowledge that he/she is no worse in orienteering than Apple app. Including me, of course. I can tell you from my own experience that hiking from the 9th Ave to the Sea of Galilee is a considerable effort, mainly because Chaps Elysees is a rather crowded place even on October.
My favorite map, however, is this one, drawn by V.G. Privedentsev. According to this map, I was born — give and take a few hundred miles — somewhere on the bridge of the bears’s nose and lived, at one time of my life or another, nearly on every other feather of the American eagle with a short (in terms of lifetime) stopover in the vicinity of the Bedouin’s ear.
This map below is a formidable masterpiece, an absolutely astounding graphic representation of the world as it stood in 1914, when the First World War ruffled the feathers of the world. Right, it was the First of the World Wars that was supposed to end ALL Wars, except it didn’t. Just the thought of it… makes you feel like… perhaps, getting drunk? Or is it Russian in me getting restless? Here is yet another world map (another map, not the map of another world), depicting the world’s per capita alcohol consumption in liters. Cheers!