Blog 2

I have always found maps very interesting. The ways in which they can be presented via different projections reminds be of plotting data on different types of axes (normal vs log scale). Both methods, (just like different projections) present the same data but the data can look very different when compared side by side. As such, the differing methods of data presentation stress differing features of the data.

The first projection that stands out to me is the Mercator Projection. This projection undeniably distorts the polar regions. But this is simply the “cost of doing business’ to create a map optimized for navigation. However, while this makes bearings easier, how did early navigators correct for the polar distortions in distance?

The Peters Projection never made much sense to me from a functional stand point. It does a good job of accurately presenting the area but what is its use? If accurate representation of area is that important to the task at hand why not get a globe?

Next the Orthographic Projection was striking to me. It reminded me of what I’ve heard old timers refer to as “pilot maps’ That is to say that if a line was drawn from New York to San Francisco on a “pilot map’ the same line would be arched on a more traditional projection like the Mercator. I don’t know if these two map projections are the same but they sure do look very similar.

Lastly, I found the Alaska Forest map to be interesting. I felt it really showed not just the varied nature of Alaska’s Forests, but also the massive amount of Alaska which simply have no forests. I know that there is a lot of non-forested lands in Alaska but this map really drove that point home!

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