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Danny Dorling's Cartography Talk Redraws the Map of the World

 - Dec 22, 2016
References: ted & youtube
In Danny Dorling's cartography talk, he gives examples of a myriad of ways that the Earth can be mapped. World cartography might seem simple in essence, but it's actually an impossible task; there is no way to map a 3D object (like the Earth) onto a 2D surface while maintaining perfect accuracy. As such, cartographic practices can provide people with alternative understandings of the world around them.

It would be hard to give a cartography talk without showcasing maps, and Dorling delivers. Rather than focusing on map design per se, he presents various maps that structure the Earth based on information. One such map, which hardly even looks like a world map at all, changes the sizes of locations based on their populations. Another builds on this population concept, but also includes arrows and dates that indicate when prehistoric humans moved into the various regions of the planet.

What Dorling prefers to focus on, however, are the maps that reveal important qualities of modernity. For instance, he overlays the population-distorted map with the areas that produce the world's food, in turn highlighting the problems of feeding an increasing human populace.