Introduction to Digital Humanities

RELI/ENGL 39, Fall 2015, University of the Pacific

The accuracy of maps…. or not ?

imageA map is not a picture!!  This reading had me thinking more deeply about how accurate the maps that we use today really are compared to how accurate we think they are… In the reading, i like how the author compared photographed maps to magazine covers which i thought was a really good example of showing how maps do not show exactly what we think we are viewing which is kind of like an illusion in a sense because most of the stuff we see on covers of magazines for advertisment look nothing like they do in reality. Things are edited and changed to look more appealing, which could potentially be biased because the information can be different from the original and can be inaccurate. When the original maps are remade, many details may be altered and changed to be more convenient and that’s why we can’t say that a map is esentially a picture because a picture shows something as it is whereas maps arent always as exact as they may appear. The same thing can be done with maps. We dont carry actual maps we can just use our cell phones or some other type of technology. I have had many incidents where i have tried using the google maps gps naviagation on my phone or ipad and it got me lost.  From the picture, It “looked” like it was the way to go but it wasn’t and it ended up rerouting me.

This picture here is just a  map of our world and its basically just to show that litle things on this map could be slightly off for all we know because things are constantly changing which is another reason why we cant rely on maps 100%


  1. I agree that we cannot rely on maps 100 percent because since it is not a picture, we are not sure if it is fully true to the original. It is similar to how magazine covers change the appearances of their celebrities in order to look more attractive for their readers. Sometimes the changes in the maps were only there to be appealing to the eye, but they can make us confused about what we are specifically looking for.

  2. I like how you gave a personal example of inaccuracies and I also agree with you. It would appear that an inaccurate map wouldn’t be too much of a problem, as long as a person merely uses it for general identification of continents and countries. However, if you wish to go more in-depth, as you explained in your personal examples, the problem becomes a lot bigger when you can no longer identify a specific place due to the inaccuracy of a map.

  3. I agree that maps are not pictures. However, we all have eyes to see the world around us, we see aerial pictures of the world’s landscapes, and we can even see photos of earth from space. It is not realistic to think that a flat drawing of the Earth can be accurately depicted. I agree that it can be deceiving to see some continents drawn larger or smaller than they should be , but I feel like it is quite difficult to portray everything accurately. To fix this, there should be a key on the maps or at least labels that explain the actual sizes or placements.

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