May 3, 2006

Geography Inverted

Inverted maps © 2008

(Toledo, OH) While on the subject of maps and geography - a topic very close to the heart of Tim over at Traveling Through Life Without a Map - I decided to post a map that I sometimes use to jar students out of their comfort zones.

Unlike typical northern-oriented or Euro-centered maps, this projection is based upon a southern orientation.

One of the typical repsonses I get goes something like this: "The letters and words are upside down."

This type of student understands that the map has been inverted, but assumes that the mistake lies in the fact that the text is incorrect. After all, when they turn the map "right" side up, the letters are "wrong."

Inverted maps © 2008

By the way - many schools in the Southern Hemisphere prefer this type of map.

Even more intriguing is this Hobo-Dyer equal area projection map, which also features the Pacific as the center of orientation.

Some students struggle to understand the point of the exercise, or assume that I have some radical agenda I am trying to foist upon them. The idea that there is only one "correct" map is firmly etched into their brains, and they have difficulty breaking free from many years of repetition.

My only purposes in presenting such maps are to reinforce the idea that historical problems can be approached from a wide variety of perspectives, and that we need to be aware of our own biases when trying to understand history.

The exercise, though, could have many more applications in in a wide variety of fields. Anyways, have fun looking at the world in a different fashion.


Anonymous said...

I bet my third graders would get a kick out of this, Mike. Thanks for the idea!

Hooda Thunkit said...

Mike is being mean to us..., Waaaaaaaa :-)

Seriously, do you take a lot of abuse, making students think out of "their" box like that?

(A "fun fact" to mess with people's minds:

From the North Pole, every direction (except for up and down) you point in is South, just as, from the South Pole every direction you point in is North...)

historymike said...

Nah, not too much. Most students "get" what I am trying to do, which is just to get them to realize that history can be interpreted in a lot of different ways.

There are a few students who really struggle with viewing the world in a different way, even for a few minutes. Their rigidity can be difficult, but I usually let them alone after I sense true resistance.

Let the revolutionaries be the educational facsists.

BAbramms said...

Mike - would you please put our copyright next to the maps you post. The line should read (c)
Thanks from Bob Abramms
Also, we'd appreciate html links:
The first maps you show should link to:
and the 2nd one should link to:
ALSO: this may be a problem with my browser, BUT the maps appear altered in proportion. If you've stretched out the images then that now alters them from being EQUAL AREA maps, which is the property they were created to illustrate. Any questions? Feel free to call me at 413-549-1327.

historymike said...

Copyright added, Bob.

As far as the maps, try clicking on them and see if they look "normal." To the best of my recollection, I right-clicked and saved in .jpg, and then uploaded through Blogger.

I will add the hot links, since you requested them. Most people are worried about bandwidth suckage, which is why I don't hotlink without permission.

historymike said...

The URLs you provided will not upload, as they are part of a Java script that goes to a popup window.

Visitors who want to purchase the maps can use the above URLs to get to the item page.

BAbramms said...

The maps do not look "normal" in my browser. Too bad. Maybe it can't be fixed.
They are squished down...the correct proportions of the map are
height = .505 x width
Through my browser & monitor the width is greater than it shoule be.
Thanks for the hot links.