Name a Country, Any Country

Last week, Jimmy Kimmel Live had a skit where they asked passersby to name a country, any country, on a map of the world. The results were predictable—doofs who couldn’t name any country at all, or who thought Africa was a country—and so has been the general reaction. Americans not knowing their geography is a cliché that’s decades old at least. Thing is, the half-dozen or so people being shown aren’t a representative sample: the aim here isn’t a scientific survey, it’s good television. And laughing at idiots counts as good TV in America. In that vein, the kid going all Yakko’s World at the end is an absolutely necessary punchline. [Cartophilia]

New Zealand Launches Campaign to Get Itself Back on World Maps

Frustrated by being left off world maps, New Zealand has launched a tongue-in-cheek campaign called #getNZonthemap, the highlight of which is a three-minute video featuring New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern and actor Rhys Darby, who goes full conspiracy theory in the clip. Fun all round. See the video on Facebook or Vimeo.

Previously: Maps Without New Zealand.

New Orleans: ‘Totally Unrealistic’ Fantasy City

Don’t miss writer and game designer James L. Sutter critiquing New Orleans as though it was a city from a fantasy novel. A major criticism of fantasy maps, whether of cities or worlds, is their lack of realism: unrealistic rivers, mountains and so forth. New Orleans, with its totally unrealistic terrain, doesn’t pass the test. “Please clean up your map and resubmit when it follows the rules of a real-world city,” Sutter concludes.

Clickhole: Rising Sea Levels to Turn Australia into a Rhombus

Clickhole

Clickhole, The Onion’s satirical clickbait website, had a hilarious piece last October declaring that rising sea levels will turn Australia into a rhombus: good news for cartographers, for whom Australia will be easier to draw.

According to a new study by the National Ocean Service, melting icecaps and glaciers will raise sea levels enough to cause drastic coastal erosion to virtually every landmass on the planet, including Australia, which will transform from its current shapeless continental configuration into a crisp, tightly angled quadrilateral. While this will unquestionably result in an incalculable amount of economic and ecological devastation, it will likely be a welcome change for cartographers, who instead of spending hours trying to perfect the jagged and asymmetrical outline of the Australian coast like they do now, will in the coming decades be able to handily dash off a geographically accurate rendering of the continent in just a few seconds flat.

In your face, Wyoming. [Cartophilia]

Some Maine Atlas and Gazetteer Humour

A satirical news website based in Maine would inevitably have a bit on the venerable Maine Atlas and Gazetteer. So here’s New Maine News:

Dixmont native Don Adams’ beloved Maine Atlas and Gazetteer was unable to complete the trip from Dixmont to Eustis yesterday. […]

Outside of Solon on Route 201, the Gazetteer shuddered in Sarah’s hands before evaporating into the heated air of the Adams’ 2008 Ford F-150. The particles were “finer than baby powder,” she said.

“It made a sound like a sigh, of relief almost, and then it was gone,” Don said.

Don bought the Gazetteer in 1989 during a family trip to Bangor to go school shopping for the kids. The Gazetteer was predeceased by seven different vehicles.

The Adams were left completely without navigational tools, due to Don’s TracPhone being a simple flip-style.

[MAPS-L]

Montreal’s Anglo Metro Map

Daniel Raillant-Clark’s map of Montréal’s Métro with anglicized station names (in most cases) is full of awful translations in both directions and puns in both languages (example: “Georges-Vanier” becomes “George Go Deny It” because va nier means go deny). To see what the hell this map is messing with, the real Métro map is here. [MTL Blog/Reddit]

The Isle of Bait

The Future Mapping Company has announced the discovery of a new island 20 kilometres off the coast of Great Britain. They have naturally already produced a new map of this island.

The Isle of Bait is a small, beautiful and untouched paradise, but there is a hitch—it is only visible through the Face Swap Snapchat filter.

It appears that a glitch during the most recent geological shift caused a permanent geofence to go up around the island, preventing it from being visible to the naked eye.

Geocached for so long, local authorities are debating whether to rename landmarks and points of interest to bring the island into the post-Brexit era. Bay of Bright Futures, the Eneychestuary and Happiness Hill are all remnants of a past that is no longer a reality for the rest of the country. Toblerone Ridge, a local favourite for its distinctive jagged shape, may be the worst affected as plans to widen the gaps between peaks are unveiled as part of a “Greater Value Modernisation Programme.”

For this reason, this map is already a collector’s item, so we would advise acting now before the facts are revealed to be of an alternative nature.

Not since the discoveries of Null Island or San Seriffe has there been news of this magnitude—indeed, this announcement comes 40 years to the day after the Guardian published its supplement on the latter island.