"So the question becomes: are we using the right information?"
September 7, 2020 2:34 PM   Subscribe

"Maps always project a specific view of reality.... it’s not a bad thing, as such. The more maps there are, the greater the sum total of information becomes – just as a multitude of voices blends into a democracy. Where does it go wrong? When maps are interpreted as neutral truth. Not one of many representations of reality, but the single definitive model of how the world works. And that is exactly what happens with many maps in the politicised migration debate."

An excellent article on how changing the maps used to portray complex issues can actually change how those complex issues might be perceived.
posted by jessamyn (12 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite
That was amazing. Reminds me a lot of what Tufte was talking about when he spoke of "Graphical Integrity".
posted by signal at 2:55 PM on September 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

That is really interesting. Fuck borders anyway.
posted by chavenet at 3:11 PM on September 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


and earlier
posted by TDIpod at 3:21 PM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

It never occurred to me that data visualizations are so subjective but rarely presented as such. This would be a very valuable topic to workshop in high school history and civics classes. Ditto for college courses as well and maybe even graphic design classes since being about to create charts and things are becoming a staple skill for entry level designers.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 4:48 PM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Wow, I like the way this article is written/designed. Thanks for that Jessamyn.
posted by storybored at 5:03 PM on September 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

This is great, thanks for posting it.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:15 PM on September 7, 2020

For people who enjoy thinking about how to present data in ways that are useful and who are maybe new to this topic, the book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information has a lot of good examples and is likely available in nearly any US public library.
posted by jessamyn at 5:23 PM on September 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

I liked this article, first, because it's a nostra culpa. They had done some of these things themselves, and are trying to learn from their mistakes. And second, because the problems are subtle; you could look at the original map without realizing the propaganda effect. We tend to thinks maps are scientific and innocuous. But removing the problematic bits one after another is highly informative.
posted by zompist at 2:17 AM on September 8, 2020

Mod note: Please note this is a post made as part of MeFi's Fundraising Month. Read more about this project here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:42 AM on September 8, 2020

One of the few good things about modern web design is visual essays like this.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 8:28 PM on September 8, 2020

If I had better Wikipedia skills, I would fix the colors in this map from the Real ID page.
posted by aniola at 1:34 PM on September 9, 2020

Folks may also enjoy this book How To Lie With Maps
posted by quacks like a duck at 1:57 AM on September 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

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