The Universal Map

If the attempts by India, China and other countries to control how they’re mapped seem like a throwback to an earlier age, it’s probably because they are: last September Justin O’Beirne looked at the recent, rapid changes in cartography and came to the realization that, thanks to the ubiquity and accessibility of modern mobile maps (especially Google’s), “for the first time in human history, the majority of the world might soon be using the same map.” Bespoke maps that speak to your particular world view are, in the face of global corporations on the one hand and global crowdsourcing on the other, quaint. A cry for special, partial treatment; frustration at having lost control. [Afflictor]

Author: Jonathan Crowe

Jonathan Crowe blogs about maps at The Map Room. His nonfiction has been published by AE, The New York Review of Science Fiction, the Ottawa Citizen and Tor.com. His sf fanzine, Ecdysis, was a two-time Aurora Award finalist.