Evolution of a Cartographer

  1. Just Saw That Episode of West Wing:
    Holy shit Mercator projection is racist and wrong! I’ve been lied to my whole life! God is dead! The government is lame! Thanksgiving is about killing Indians! Jesus wasn’t born on Christmas, it was a Pagan holiday and they moved the date! What does South America even look like? Is my blue the same as your blue???
  2. Took My First GIS Class: It’s not my favorite but in a catalogue of thousands of projections at my disposal of which none perfectly depict landmasses totally accurately, Mercator has several legitimate applications. Besides, at the end of the day, it’s just another algorithm.
  3. Got My First GIS JOB: Mercator still isn’t that great. Algorithms aren’t as impartial as we like to believe they are but at large scales and wide extents, for most maps it doesn’t really matter anyway. Global maps are more often designed and adopted because they reflect society’s biases not the other way around. Yes, you’re probably racist but you were racist way before you saw the shower curtain on Friends. The map on the cover is probably the least ethnocentric thing you’ll see in an American public school text book and if you truly believed size equated importance you would know literally anything about Greenland. But you don’t. I’ll just take whatever makes Google Earth load faster.
  4. Read Replies to the Comment That I Posted In Response To Yet Another Article Fawning Over Hajime Narukawa’s Authograph Map for, Like, the Bajillionth Time: Can we talk about literally anything else? There are maps to make and explore and projections may be the most boring part of them. Let’s talk about cartographic science, geodesy, history, printing and engraving, art, culture, coding, data, justice, anthropology, technology, how awesome Gretchen Peterson and Dawn Wright are- whatever. We’re all just making abstract models of planets and we can do it however the hell we want because we are the privileged many who get to live in the golden age of cartography and no one can stop us from totally rewriting the rules. It’s not just about pictures anymore- we can have spatial stories, fabrics, sculptures, programs or apps or something not yet invented. There’s so much yet to build and explore! Tell me something about THAT. I’ll listen.

Maps, conservation, insects, film, boats, scuba diving

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