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Are mapping conventions Euro-centric? Should that change?

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Mr. House
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#31

Posted 17 February 2014 - 03:35 PM Edited by Nale Dixon, 17 February 2014 - 03:36 PM.

 

This is seriously the most non issue pile of garbage I've ever seen, this is ridiculous. Nobody in Africa gives a f*ck about what the world map looks like, or which time zone is the central standard time. It makes no god damn difference whatsoever and changing it would only serve to annoy every system on the planet, which works off of these maps, time zones and definitions of up and down.

 

I mean really, you're suggesting that up should be changed to down? Come on. While we're at it, let's change binary. One is now Zero! Hey, let's change musical theory. Letters have too much hegemony on notation. Now musical notes are deigned by numbers. 1, 1",2,3,3",4,4",5,6,6",7,7" Confusing and pointless? Ah you'll get used to it, we don't want those pesky numbers showing their cultural dominance!

Actually, I made this topic not because I'm passionate about Cartography, but because I read another discussion which was very interesting but poorly translated into English, very difficult to read and I could only read apart of it, so I assumed we could have an equally interesting discussion only in my native language.

 

Or you could just come in, flip your sh*t, and look like a total nonce. Also "up" has no meaning in space.  And a lot of people take exception to any form of Euro-centrism, it's hardly a "non-issue" just because the fate of the world doesn't depend on it. 

 

Did you just call me a... nonce? because I think this is a pointless subject?

 

Anyway. A lot of people are white middle class liberals. The Japanese don't care about it, the Arabs don't care about it, f*ck even the Africans don't care about it. The system set in place is accepted and works. There's no need to change it because it makes literally no difference to anything.  It genuinely doesn't matter one squit if some people find it offensive because that means nothing. It doesn't affect business, it doesn't affect trade, and it doesn't affect anything ever.

 

Up has no meaning in space, sure. But up has a pretty standard recognised meaning on this planet to this species. In terms of the relationship to the continents on this planet it means 'that place where the north pole is' You ask the aforementioned Arabs, Africans, Japanese or even the Indians, South Americans, New Zealanders and ask them 'where is up' and they'll point to the sky. Ask them 'where is up on this map, from your location, which I have turned upside down to not offend anyone' and they'll probably point to the north pole. What you're asking is for every planetary system to change, for what? So the map isn't so Euro-centric? I have to be honest, the rest of the world will be more pissed off that they have to rewrite, print and publish every single geography book and recreate every single globe just because some guilty white liberals wanted the globe the other way around than they are currently.


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#32

Posted 17 February 2014 - 03:47 PM

I completely understand your gripe with the Mercator projection. It has engrained a subconscious bias in society. With the world's Economic superpowers being portrayed north/on top and bigger, further solidifying their might and further detracting from the third world's relevance at least subconsciously. I'd be the last person to deny that that at the very least it is to an extent to blame for the way we perceive Africa and thus react to issues pertaining to Africa. However I doubt after a couple hundred years of bias and subconsciously looking down changing the map in classrooms to the Gall--Peters projection is going to change anything for the better, let alone have any positive socioeconomic ramifications for Africa.


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#33

Posted 17 February 2014 - 03:51 PM

"Nonce" is often used a general insult, but is kind of clean and light hearted. That's how it's used here anyway. I called you a nonce because you lashed out at me. Seriously, nobody else felt the need to run in swearing. I can't even imagine someone talking to me like that in real life. Mind the testosterone

 

Anyway I'm not out campaigning for it, I just found it interesting that when you turn the map upside down "Europe and Asia" suddenly looks more like "Eurasia" and that we generally could hang a map in a classroom any which way and it's the same map, yet we only do it with Europe and North America on top, and even go so far as to turn around pictures taken from space. That's what I wanted to talk about. I'm not saying all maps need to be reprinted so that they're upside down. What would be the point of that?

 

And reflecting the actual size of continents is attractive irrespective of social and cultural issues. The fact that it's taken this long to do anything about it is what smacks of chauvinism. It's not an inconvenience at all to print area accurate maps and hang them in classrooms. 


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#34

Posted 17 February 2014 - 03:52 PM

  it purports the inaccurate and somewhat racist idea idea that Europe is its own continent that kind of hovers over everything:

 

How the hell is that racist? Europe is it's own continent. Continents are a political and social construct rather than being defined strictly by geographic means. It's really just a way of loosely defining different regions of the Earth. What's so bad about having Europe as a specific region?

 

I do agree about the Mercator projection though, it's a really properly sh*t map to use for representing what the world looks like. It'd be like using Peter Dinklage's skeleton as a representation of what the average human's looks like. I think it's large scale use is much more to do with familiarity and stubbornness though. Just look at America and their use of imperial measurements. 


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#35

Posted 17 February 2014 - 03:53 PM

I completely understand your gripe with the Mercator projection. It has engrained a subconscious bias in society. With the world's Economic superpowers being portrayed north/on top and bigger, further solidifying their might and further detracting from the third world's relevance at least subconsciously. I'd be the last person to deny that that at the very least it is to an extent to blame for the way we perceive Africa and thus react to issues pertaining to Africa. However I doubt after a couple hundred years of bias and subconsciously looking down changing the map in classrooms to the Gall--Peters projection is going to change anything for the better, let alone have any positive socioeconomic ramifications for Africa.

As far as I know, the push to use the Gall-Peters projection mainly comes from latinos and African-Americans in the US. Which seems... fair enough.


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#36

Posted 17 February 2014 - 04:34 PM

I heard you guys talking sh*t about my home, Captain Africa is here to save the day :D
Ot: I don't have a clue what you guys are talking about. Africa has bigger things to deal with than how big its drawn on a map
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#37

Posted 17 February 2014 - 04:37 PM

Question: why is Europe in the center of the map when the US is the greatest country on Earth. 


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#38

Posted 17 February 2014 - 04:42 PM Edited by Raavi, 17 February 2014 - 04:47 PM.

Question: why is Europe in the center of the map when the US is the greatest country on Earth. 

 

Because the cartographer who made the Mercator projection, Gerardus Mercator was Flemish (Belgian). 


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#39

Posted 17 February 2014 - 05:02 PM

I'm from England. Does the size of my country directly correlate to my tiny shrivelled party sausage. No wonder English people are so grumpy all the time.


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#40

Posted 17 February 2014 - 11:02 PM

Hey guys: http://america.aljaz...ntricglobe.html

 

The end.


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#41

Posted 17 February 2014 - 11:09 PM

 

Question: why is Europe in the center of the map when the US is the greatest country on Earth. 

 

Because the cartographer who made the Mercator projection, Gerardus Mercator was Flemish (Belgian). 

 

The US didn't get to be the best country ever by listening to the Belgians. Why hasn't this been fixed yet? 


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#42

Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:08 AM Edited by Danz., 18 February 2014 - 12:22 AM.

I'd love to see what happens to our maps when our magnetic field flips. We're due for one of those soon.
 
Interesting point, though, Melchior. I had no idea maps were manipulated for reasons of "superiority". Is this an observation you made yourself, or did you find this elsewhere? it just seems a bit pointless for a person to mess with continent sizes for such a silly reason, in all honesty.

Well, when the Mercator map first rolled out it may have been due to a flawed understanding of geography. However, I have no doubt that chauvinism is the reason we persist in hanging them in classrooms centuries later, even resisting numerous attempts to replace it with area accurate maps.

I've learned that in Geography during highschool. I'm not sure how it's taught in American schools, but here where I live my teachers did a great job at that subject.
 
That "elongated" map which shows Africa as a bigger continent than Asia and most of Europe is a projection created by Arno Peters alongside James Gall. That kind of projection sacrifices the shape of the continents to obtain a map with showing their true areas. IMHO, it is not all that necessary, but this topic served to show how Euro-centric this forum is and how some people just care about their navels.
 
Creating different maps and teaching them in school shouldn't be a huge deal if they are worthwhile for the study of Geography, which is the case. Learning that your country isn't as big as you thought might make a difference when you start to learn about other's cultures and respecting them.
 
But when it comes to penis sizes... since when the size of a country/continent has to do with it? I know it's a joke you used to make people join the thread, but still it might be offesive to the ones who discovered that their countries were even smaller than they thought. Well, too bad for them I guess, because mine is bigger and bigger. My country, of course.

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#43

Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:24 AM

I still don't understand why maps should be horizontally based on the equator.

 

This is how the world map should look:

 

newworld.jpg


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#44

Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:32 AM

....dude, the 90's called. They want their absurdly misguided political correctness back.

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#45

Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:43 AM

....dude, the 90's called. They want their absurdly misguided political correctness back.

So tell me Otter, why continue to show blatantly wrong maps if not out of a childish sense of one-upmanship? tbh I'm not particularly happy that they taught me with blatantly incorrect maps. But go ahead and purport this narrative of this being misguided pandering to people who don't care. I care at least enough to have a conversation about it, and it has f*ck all to do with anyone else.


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#46

Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:52 AM Edited by Nale Dixon, 18 February 2014 - 12:53 AM.

 

 

Question: why is Europe in the center of the map when the US is the greatest country on Earth. 

 

Because the cartographer who made the Mercator projection, Gerardus Mercator was Flemish (Belgian). 

 

The US didn't get to be the best country ever by listening to the Belgians. Why hasn't this been fixed yet? 

 

Because Americans have better things to do than whine about the shape of a f*cking map.

 

This doesn't smack of chauvinism at all, it smacks of this system works, everyone accepts it as it is, changing it would be a pointless waste of time.

 

But go ahead and purport this narrative of this being misguided pandering to people who don't care.

 

That is the narrative. Nobody cares.


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#47

Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:59 AM

The last classroom I was in actually had the upside down map on one wall and a scale-accurate cylindrical projection on another. Hell, in my geography class in 1995 we had different scale maps on the wall and learned explicitly that mercator is a projection designed to aid in shipping routes and such and is not scale accurate. Or, you know, you could look at one of the many globes that are probably in the room.

 

So what I'm saying is threefold:

 

1 - it's not wrong.

2 - You may have had a substandard education, and I'm sorry about that, but it's no reason to subvert everything we already know about cartography.

3 - North has been "up" to the west before Africa was even circumnavigated. It's astronomical, dear boy, dating back probably before the Greeks. It's clutching at straws to claim it's all about dominance - it's a confirmation bias.


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#48

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:01 AM

As long as you live you'll never be able to get a truly accurate map of the world, I mean come on, you're trying to put a three-dimensional object into a two-dimensional space, without the usage of a globe you'll never be able to achieve a true to-scale of version of Earth. So no, it's not blatant chauvinism, just perhaps an easier way for the human eye to perceive the Earth when it's presented in a two-dimensional shape rather than a three-dimensional globe.


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#49

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:10 AM

The last classroom I was in actually had the upside down map on one wall and a scale-accurate cylindrical projection on another. Hell, in my geography class in 1995 we had different scale maps on the wall and learned explicitly that mercator is a projection designed to aid in shipping routes and such and is not scale accurate. Or, you know, you could look at one of the many globes that are probably in the room.

 

So what I'm saying is threefold:

 

1 - it's not wrong.

2 - You may have had a substandard education, and I'm sorry about that, but it's no reason to subvert everything we already know about cartography.

3 - North has been "up" to the west before Africa was even circumnavigated. It's astronomical, dear boy, dating back probably before the Greeks. It's clutching at straws to claim it's all about dominance - it's a confirmation bias.

The fact that Europe is "up" is only a problem because it's also shown as massive. If it were shown to scale it would be less of an issue. The fact that both occur; Europe's size is inflated, and it's viewed from and angle in which it appears to hover above the world and be separate from Asia, is quite silly.

 

Your position is inconsistent. Are you saying we shouldn't do it because its silly, or that we've already done it, but I went to a rubbish school (I didn't)? 

 

And the map is wrong. Greenland is not bigger than South America.


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#50

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:15 AM

It's not WRONG - Reading it as if it's an accurate representation of scale is wrong. If you weren't taught to read it accurately, therein lies the problem. The Peters projection you provided suffers from the same problems.

 

I'm not being inconsistent at all; I'm saying that your points of contention are all bullsh*t. You're seeing a western conspiracy where there is none.

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#51

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:21 AM

Maybe you're right and I was overly aggressive here, but you've said that hanging such a map serves no economic or logistical purpose, so what exactly is the point of proposing this? To show that you know how the black man feels? Well there are much more productive ways to do that, instead of picking on a complete non issue which no government, private entity or otherwise powerful body cares about.


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#52

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:21 AM

Hello? Did anyone read the article I posted? North as a direction for up on maps was pretty much a 13th century Compass Jew rule. They could've used south, but used the North Star, etc.

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#53

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:23 AM Edited by Melchior, 18 February 2014 - 01:24 AM.

If you weren't taught to read it accurately, therein lies the problem.

...

 

You're being quite obtuse, if I'm honest. My issue is with it hanging in classrooms and generally being used as a go-to map of the world. It's not that teachers point to it and go "this is what the world looks like, kids!" If you've got a map hanging on the back wall of a classroom, it should be area accurate. Honestly, I just wanted to have a conversation about this, as I've seen interesting, broader discussions break about around this issue. You can take the smart-arse one liners to someone who'll be impressed by them.

 

 

 

You're seeing a western conspiracy where there is none.

Strawman argument. I'm saying "silly phenomenon" not "global conspiracy."


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#54

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:24 AM

I really dont understand the point in this topic. :/

 

It's just more tumblr-esque SJW* nonsense that *gasp* paints the most trivial topics as part of some white/western patriarchal conspiracy. Of course, anyone who disagrees is in on the conspiracy...somehow. People like Melichor attempt to conjure up reasons to be perpetually offended by anything and everything.

 

The SJW movement is primarily composed of self-loathing, white American 'edgy' teenagers trying to esacpe their middle-class existence by being part of a self-destructive movement based on hypocrisy and doublethink. It's as funny as it is sad.
 

*Social Justice 'Warriors' are different than Social Justice Advocates, who generally are not insufferable dicktwats. Every political movement has its share of wingnuts...some more than others.

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#55

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:24 AM

Maybe you're right and I was overly aggressive here, but you've said that hanging such a map serves no economic or logistical purpose, so what exactly is the point of proposing this? To show that you know how the black man feels? Well there are much more productive ways to do that, instead of picking on a complete non issue which no government, private entity or otherwise powerful body cares about.

Because it's interesting. Bloody hell!


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#56

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:30 AM

 

Maybe you're right and I was overly aggressive here, but you've said that hanging such a map serves no economic or logistical purpose, so what exactly is the point of proposing this? To show that you know how the black man feels? Well there are much more productive ways to do that, instead of picking on a complete non issue which no government, private entity or otherwise powerful body cares about.

Because it's interesting. Bloody hell!

 

Well I guess so. Everything is interesting on some scale, but I don't go around proposing things because I find them interesting. To be honest though, this isn't that interesting. It just stinks of a sort of pointless white man compromise over something so trivial. sh*t, me and Otter aren't exactly die hard conservatives now are we? If even we see this as ridiculous then I dunno man, maybe you're barking up the wrong tree with this one


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#57

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:33 AM


 

 

 

You're seeing a western conspiracy where there is none.

Strawman argument. I'm saying "silly phenomenon" not "global conspiracy."

 

 

Bullsh*t, Melchoir. Your "silly phenomenon" is that a 3d surface projected in two dimensions is implicitly designed to express western domination. Tomato, tomato, conspiracy.

 

And calling me obtuse? Did I not mention globes, earlier - have you never looked at one of those? Didn't you have those in your classrooms?

Furthermore, shall we remove everything from a classroom that can be misread by a child? Perhaps false color space photography should be banned as well?

 

I wouldn't be surprised to find, either, that all large Mercator projections actually indicate the distortion in the legend.

 

 

 

Edit - the "interesting" argument: Sure. It's interesting. There are many other interesting ways of looking at the world. Why you insist on painting it all with this heavy handed bullsh*t about western chauvinism is beyond me, however, because not only does it obscure any real discussion about why maps look the way they do, but there's not much to discuss beyond your own misguided assumptions.

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#58

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:37 AM

 

 

Maybe you're right and I was overly aggressive here, but you've said that hanging such a map serves no economic or logistical purpose, so what exactly is the point of proposing this? To show that you know how the black man feels? Well there are much more productive ways to do that, instead of picking on a complete non issue which no government, private entity or otherwise powerful body cares about.

Because it's interesting. Bloody hell!

 

Well I guess so. Everything is interesting on some scale, but I don't go around proposing things because I find them interesting. To be honest though, this isn't that interesting. It just stinks of a sort of pointless white man compromise over something so trivial. sh*t, me and Otter aren't exactly die hard conservatives now are we? If even we see this as ridiculous then I dunno man, maybe you're barking up the wrong tree with this one

 

I thought I'd already explained about this? I  saw an interesting discussion about this, but it was either all done in broken English or it was poorly translated into English and I couldn't read it at all. Someone in the discussion said she was moving to the US with her son, and didn't like the idea that not only would he learn nothing but European history, but geography would reinforce the importance of Europe. It seemed interesting and like a fair point. It seemed to break out into a broader discussion about how we teach kids about other countries, but apparently there's too much testosterone here for us to be capable of a proper discussion.


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#59

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:41 AM

 

It's just more tumblr-esque SJW* nonsense that *gasp* paints the most trivial topics as part of some white/western patriarchal conspiracy. Of course, anyone who disagrees is in on the conspiracy...somehow. People like Melichor attempt to conjure up reasons to be perpetually offended by anything and everything.

 

The SJW movement is primarily composed of self-loathing, white American 'edgy' teenagers trying to esacpe their middle-class existence by being part of a self-destructive movement based on hypocrisy and doublethink. It's as funny as it is sad.
 

 

 

 

All that's missing is a mention of le evil Koch brothers.

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#60

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:41 AM

Oh boy. You titled the discussion "Europe's Raging Penis Envy". You can't have your cake and eat it too.

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