Kai Krause, a computer-graphics guru, caused a stir a few years ago with a map entitled “The True Size of Africa”, which showed the outlines of other countries crammed into the outline of the African continent. The goal was to make “a small contribution in the fight against rampant Immappancy.” Kai coined this phrase “immappancy”, meaning insufficient geographical knowledge. HA! We are all guilty.
Did you have any idea that the world’s largest countries could actually fit inside Africa? Long lasting incorrect visual maps have trained our brains to see Africa as far smaller than that.
Here is another comparison map of Australia and Europe. How did France get so small?
This map reminds me of a map that should be made, one that illustrates the floor plan of Saint Peter’s and it’s information. The bronze markings inlaid in the marble floor of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome indicate the length of the 31 largest churches in the world, including the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and the Cologne Cathedral. The markers show the point where the smaller church would fit inside the Vatican church, a permanent reminder of bigger is better.
Saint Peter’s has another entrancing map feature that I just now discovered, a wind rose built around the olelisque in the Piazza del Popolo, in front of the church. See it there, in the grey area between the columns? I have been there many times, and have never noticed this.
The wind rose is not defined in a decorative way, apart from the markers set in the pavement in the 19th century.They indicate the 32 directions of the wind. Love those wind blowers.
My sister and I are working on our next map book. It is fast and furious, and in our research leads us to so many more maps, more stories, more cartographic wonders than we can ever cram into one tome.
Perhaps this will be my life’s work, to cure “immappancy.”