Oceania: The Truncated Continent


In “Cartographic ethics: Oceania, the truncated continent,” Dietmar Offenhuber complains about world maps of climate change that obscure the region of the world most affected by it: Oceania. It’s an important point both in specific and in general, as he goes on to say:

Oceania is mostly an invisible continent: its islands, islets, and atolls being too small to be printed on most world maps. On the outer fringes of most world maps, its territories are cropped or covered by a legend. With of our example, the world ends just after New Zealand, and the legend covers eastern parts of French Polynesia.

The thoughtless use of Mercator projections in world maps is generally frowned upon, but truncating the lobes of projections such as Mollweide and Robinson is just as bad. But even without such mistakes, all political maps struggle with a conflict of intent: on the one hand, accurate representation of territory, on the other hand, the appropriate representation of populations.

To get a better picture of Oceania, I made a simple map of all named islands and atolls, described in the remainder of this post.

(See map above.) [Boing Boing]