Map Perspectives

Map 3: This map was particularly interesting because it showed Alaska in relation to the rest of the circumpolar north. Sometimes I forget that Alaska is actually America, as it is so far away from the rest of the country and in many ways, very different. The first week I was up here, I kept looking for things in French too because it felt so much like Canada to me. I even thought ‘oh, I need to go exchange some money’ because I was about to run out of American cash. It was then that I realised that Alaska really is America, despite it looking to my brain like Canada.

Figure 2.6 Geographic Projection: This map doesn’t do good by Alaska, or the rest of the north. Vietnam looks great, and so does the Central American region. Poor Alaska looks bloated, stretched out, and distorted to appear much wider than it actually is. Scandinavia and northern Russia don’t seem to fare any better, as their coastlines are distorted as well.  

Figure 2.7 Mercator Projection: Mercator is the worst type of map and any Canadian will tell you that because of what it does to our poor country. This projection makes parts of the north, like Alaska and poor Canada, look obnoxiously, comically large. On some Mercator maps, Canada is larger than the whole of Africa or South America, but it’s really nowhere near that big. Alaska also looks huge in Mercator projection, so when I’m trying to impress my Lower 48 friends with how big Alaska is, I send them a Mercator map.

Figure 2.10 Orthographic Projection: I am rather fond of this type of map because I love seeing how close Alaska is to the North Pole compared to where I am from. It also most closely resembles the view if you’re looking at Alaska on a globe; it’s realistic, it makes sense to me, and it shows Alaska’s place in the circumpolar world. I like this map quite a bit.  


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