Richest Billionaires in Every State in 2021

     In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began and an economy like never before came from it. Unemployment drastically rose, many large and small businesses closed, and others struggled to stay open. However, during the mass unemployment and bankruptcy people and businesses endured, stocks were at their record highs and companies like Amazon and Tesla along with technology companies thrived. The gap between the wealthy and poor has greatly increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This map from specifically shows the wealthiest billionaire in every U.S. state in 2021, hinting at the inequality in our country when it comes to wealth.’s website’s ultimate goal is to teach people how to understand money, whether it is taxes, debt, insurance, stocks, or loans. There are tons of other maps and graphs that explain and help visualize each of these subjects. For the map I chose to discuss, because the focus is only on the wealthiest billionaire in each U.S. state, the map is only of the fifty states. The map is very straightforward. A state is a dark navy blue if their richest billionaire has a net worth of 100 billion or more and the color gets lighter and lighter according to how rich the richest billionaire is. If a state does not have a billionaire then the state is colored a light gray. There are only seven states that are not home to any billionaires: Alaska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Alabama, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Delaware. There is a legend at the top of the map that displays this. Also, in each state that has a billionaire, the map displays a portrait of its richest billionaire and next to it is their name and their net worth. The map does not offer much information after that. I believe the map could have included descriptions at the bottom about why each person is as wealthy as they are, along with the billionaire’s name, net worth, and where they live. This could be seen as a silence of the map. 

     Jeff Bezos is not only the wealthiest person in the state of Washington, but he’s also the wealthiest person in the world. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, people have been less likely to go outside. Rather than going to physical stores to shop, people would choose to shop online because it is “safer” and easier. Much of the online shopping would take place on Jeff Bezos’ Amazon. Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon, and because of the major increase and dependency of online shopping in the past year, his net worth has almost doubled since the start of the pandemic. His net worth was estimated at $113 billion at the start of the pandemic and is currently estimated over $192 billion. Bezos is not the only billionaire who has benefited during the pandemic as the net worth of Tesla and SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk has grown over 500%. His net worth at the beginning of the pandemic was an estimated $24.6 billion and is now estimated at over $166 billion. During the making of the map, Musk’s net worth was estimated at a whopping $191 billion and for a short period of time he surpassed Jeff Bezos’ net worth to claim the title as the richest man in the world. The demand for electric vehicles surged along with Tesla’s stock price. It blew up this past January taking part in its total increase of 900% over the past year. His net worth has clearly gone down from $191 billion, but the value he lost does not compare to his value gained. 

     Another tech guru that experienced a large increase in their wealth was Facebook’s co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Because COVID-19 made it harder and less likely for friends and family to get together, Facebook allowed those to stay connected in the safest way. The 2020 U.S. presidential election was also a popular topic on Facebook with everyone sharing articles and videos. From the combination of more users and the stock price of Facebook increasing almost 100%, Zuckerberg’s estimated net worth rose from roughly $55 billion to over $100 billion in the past year. The background and stories behind how Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg’s estimated net worth grew tremendously during the pandemic are just some examples of what the map could have added to create a better understanding of today’s wealth inequality. Although after analyzing the map and doing more research to prove the inequality in today’s wealth worked, this map is both effective and ineffective at the same time. It completes its goal in showing the wealthiest billionaire in every U.S. state in 2021, but it lacks the sense of a deeper meaning. It does not try and imply that we need to try and solve the gap between the wealthy and poor that has greatly increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


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Atlas of the Week – Beginner’s World Atlas

National Geographic’s Beginner’s World Atlas aims to get kids interested in geography! This atlas is great for children. The bright colors and design draw kids in. Typically, atlases can be somewhat complex. While children can look at the images inside a typical atlas, they might be a little hard to understand. The Beginner’s World Atlas is perfect for kids ages 5-8. This atlas is a great resource for children. 

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Atlanta’s Traffic Infrastructure

Have you ever spent the night in a big city and the sounds of traffic kept you up at night? In 2019, Atlanta, Georgia ranked number ten in a list of cities in the United States with the worst traffic congestion. This map, from the US Department of transportation documents the amount of noise due to traffic in the city of Atlanta. This map encapsulates the sound from cars, trains, and planes. As a major city, it is pretty predictable that Atlanta would host a fair amount of traffic. Atlanta hosts a population of 488,800 so it is not all that surprising that a lot of drivers would be on the highways in Atlanta daily. 

This map from the United States Department of Transportation is a pretty basic map. It outlines the major roadways around Atlanta and labels the names of surrounding towns. The areas with the highest noise levels are highlighted in red. As the noise lessens in certain areas the colors fade to orange and then to yellow. This particular map has no legend, so the viewer is left to assume general noise levels based on the colors used in the map. From this map, the viewer can easily assume that noise levels in Atlanta are high due to the large amounts of red highlighting in the city and its surrounding areas. This is not surprising due to the fact that Atlanta is a cosmopolitan city with a midsized population. However, this map does not offer any explanation as to why Atlanta has such large noise levels due to traffic. I believe this is a huge silence of this map. 

Traffic in Atlanta has a surprisingly large amount to do with the history of segregation in the city. During much of the nation’s history, the attempts to separate the races are inescapably “spatial” in addition to the socio-political and economic segregation that is so familiar in American history. In fact, the spatial and social aspects of segregation are intertwined. This pattern is very true for the city of Atlanta. During the New Deal, federal agencies pushed Black Americans into ghettos by labeling neighborhoods as risky investments or good investments. This would lead banks to only distribute loans to people living in neighborhoods that were labeled as good investments. Therefore, people who lived in the “risky” neighborhoods, often Black people, would not be able to take out a loan and could not advance their living situations. This practice is called redlining. Redlining led to the creation of very distinct and segregated neighborhoods. During the 1950s and 1960s, the federal government funded the creation of a new interstate highway. While the federal government funded the large majority of this major project, local governments had most of the say in how the highways were laid out in each state. In Atlanta, these highways were placed on routes that would lead to the destruction of the “riskier” Black neighborhoods. This was a common practice in other Southern cities like Richmond, Nashville, and New Orleans. Not only were these major highways used to destroy minority neighborhoods, but they were also created as a physical barrier between white and minority neighborhoods. This trend can be seen in cities across the East Coast. 

If you follow the paths of major highways in these cities, you can see the stark division between neighborhoods. By following the path of these highways, you can also see that they often do not follow a very direct path. This is due to the intentional, racist layout of many major highways. The circuitous routes that city planners designed for these major highways now cause major traffic jams in big cities. By looking at this map of traffic sounds in Atlanta, we can clearly see that the city is full of traffic. However, this map doesn’t give any historical context as to why traffic in Atlanta is so heavy. The map is also not detailed enough, for the viewer to be able to see the pattern in traffic sounds without any prior knowledge. Although the viewer can see that the city of Atlanta has a high volume of traffic sounds, the viewer cannot see which neighborhoods are specifically impacted. I believe this lack of historical context to be a large silence of this map from the United States Department of Transportation.

Given the proper historical context, this map has the potential to be interesting and meaningful. But, given the way this map is presented right now, it would be fairly meaningless to the average viewer. This map from the Department of Transportation is silencing a very important, and often overlooked, piece of American history. The map of noise due to traffic in the city of Atlanta, Georgia has the chance to be powerful, but the creators of the map have silenced a large part of its power.  


Work Cited

Kahn, Michael. “Map Reveals Noise of Atlanta’s Transportation Infrastructure.” Curbed Atlanta, 27 Mar. 2017,

Kruse, Kevin M. “How Segregation Caused Your Traffic Jam.” The New York Times, 14 Aug. 2019.,, 


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Blog and atlas links

Cartographic and Architectural Records at the National Archives in College Park, MD | National Archives– This is the blog link I have chosen. I think it is really cool how it contains all different maps of different times of California from many different eras, as well as many other writings and documents to go along with the times of these maps that can give context and other interesting events during these times.

Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States (– this is the atlas link that I have chosen. I find this atlas incredible interesting because it shows the geography of the united states and how it has been split up by votes in each presidential election for about 100 years. And with this atlas, on the side it gives a lot of context and material about each part of this atlas and for each election.

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Piri Reis- map that could change the world


The Piri Reis

When people talk about controversy regarding maps, there is no conversation that is able to be had without bringing up the map, the Piri Reis. This map has been around since the age of great geographical discoveries, from the 15th to 17th century and was created in 1513. Some researchers that have studied this map see it as evidence on old research of the Antarctic coast before the era of Great Geographical Discoveries. This leads to much controversy and different theories about this map since there is no actual evidence supporting the claim by these researchers.  This map has caused much commotion since the moment it was discovered, (Tchakarov pg. 1).

A German theologian by the name of Gustav Adolf was the man who discovered it on October 9,1929. He was hired by the Turkish Ministry of Education to catalog different works and findings. When he discovered the map, he realized that he could be holding a unique and important piece, and gave it to an orientalist named Paul Calais, who identified the map as Piri Reis. After that, this map became a sensation because it was the only known map of the world that was “discovered by Christopher Columbus”. As we now know this is untrue, but at the time this is the land that they thought Columbus had gone to. Also, it was the only map to that date that showed South America in its correct longitudinal position to Africa. What they found was only a fragment of the entire map, and due to the damage, some of the dimensions are fragmented, but some numbers were able to be seen, so they were able to interpret it, (Tchakarov pg.1). In the legend of the map, it is said that using twenty graphics, and mappae mundi, which is the maps of the world, Piri Reis assembled this map. These maps included eight Ptolemaic maps, an Arabic map of India, four newly drawn Portuguese maps of Sindh, Pakistan, and a map of the lands that Christopher Columbus had supposedly discovered. This map is currently being kept in the library of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul but is not often shown to the public.

The biggest controversy and overall confusion regarding this map is the fact that it could possibly depict Antarctica 300 years before the southern polar continent was discovered, (Tchakarov pg 2.). The other, even more outlandish statement is that Antarctica is shown as it was before it was covered with an ice cap, which was more than 6,000 years ago, (Ancient Code pg. 2).  There are several anomalies that do not match the timeline that this map would have been created. One of them is that it uses the Mercator projection. The Mercator projection is a cylindrical map projection that shows north as up and sound as down while preserving local directions and shapes. While this projection was created in the mid 1500’s, since this map was drawn and signed in 1513, it causes confusion due to this projection being used over 50 years before its alleged creation. The other large anomaly is the inclusion of Antarctica without its ice cap. Studies done by a college professor, Charles Hapgood, and his class from New Hampshire College concluded that to have this kind of depiction and description, this map would have had to have been based on sources from 4,000 BCE. What is more is that to have this kind of topographic representation of the area inland of the coast, one would have had to have aerial capabilities in addition to normal abilities, which is unheard of at a time so long before any sort of realization into airborne capabilities,(Tchakarov pg 3). There is still no proof proving or disproving that the Piri Reis map shows Antarctica or not. If people believe it is Antarctica, then it is conceivable that some ancient civilization must have had advanced navigational skills that would be centuries ahead of their time. The other more sensible idea is that it is a depiction of the lower coast of South America, which is the more probable idea, but no one knows for sure yet. However, either way, with the use of the Mercator projection years in advance of its “founding” and the orientation of this map cause it to be unique and one of the most talked about maps from the great discovery This map presents a lot of historical context that calls into question a lot of different events from the past, but the one thing that comes to my mind when looking at the background and description of this map is that it can show that even though advancement in maps and technology happens with time and more and more progress, this map can show there were people or there were maps that can show this advancement much before the time it was told to have happened. Especially like the Mercator projection and how this map used it almost half a century before it was so-called created, it is interesting to see how no matter what the era, or where in the world, there can always be new findings and new developments in the making of maps.

This map also calls into question the ideas of politics a bit with the usage of Christopher Columbus in this map. As we all know now, Columbus landed in North America and called it the New World. But back then people thought he landed in the West Indies and and the places that are regarded too in this map. So, when people looked at this map and defined some of these places as the land discovered from Christopher Columbus, it could cause some political controversy because many may not like that in the present. Especially with some of the backlash that Columbus is getting in the United States now due to what he did to the natives already living in the New World, some may take offense to being called the land that Columbus discovered like these lands are called in this map. It just shows that there is always a political and historical side to each map that is created, especially ones that stem as far back as the Piri Reis.



Tchakarov, Vladislav. Most Controversial Map in History; What Secrets Does the Piri Reis Map Hold? 3 Nov. 2020,

Team, Ancient Code. “Before Antarctica Was Covered in Ice-Someone Mapped It with Extreme Precision.” Ancient Code, 27 Feb. 2018,




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Atlas of the Week-The African-American Atlas

The Atlas of the week The African-American Atlas is very relevant to our class and to the University of Richmond. This Atlas chronicles significant points in African-American history that have influenced African Americans’ perspectives, lives, and aspirations today. This well-balanced account of the complex African-American society and its people who suffered and continue to struggle is presented in this extensively illustrated reference book, which spans the beginnings of Africa to the transatlantic migration, from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement. This connects to our class because the past couple of weeks we have been giving light to black cartographers and looking at their maps. While also the University of Richmond students have been removing names associated with racism from dorm buildings.

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Africa is Bigger Than We Realize

Africa is much bigger than we think, hence the title. The map was created by designer Kai Krause. To start off you must know that most maps we see are based on the “Mercator Projection” that came up in 1569. As seen from the map you can put all these places together to replicate the complete size of Africa. There are two meanings in this map that we must come to understand. Africa is greatly underestimated in size due to the Mercator Projection and Africa is the motherland for every place in the world.

Why is Africa never portrayed in its actual size? The “Mercator Projection” is the reason why. The Mercator projection, is the type of map projection introduced by Gerardus Mercator. This projection is widely used for navigation charts, because any straight line on a Mercator projection map is a line of constant true bearing that enables a navigator to plot a straight-line course. The “Mercator Projection” is terrible for estimating the size of large masses of land. Under the “Mercator Projection” Africa looks about the same size of Greenland but Africa is actually 13 to 14 times larger. Flat maps also contribute to this distortion as the landmasses towards the pole are extremely exaggerated. It is also mentioned that European imperialism is to blame as well. As Africa did decolonize and become independent imperialism did not go away. Europeans continued to make maps with Africa disoriented to express their power. Ancient and modern conquerors chose to make Africa look much smaller to exert their power and authority. As we can see from the map, Africa is bigger than China, the U.S, Western & Eastern Europe, Japan, Mexico, and India. That’s not it either—Africa is also bigger than Russia, Canada, Brazil and many more countries. We all consider size equals power. Map makers know this and a high percentage of people have never been to Africa. We know Africa from what we see on social media. For example, we see these commercials about “25 cents a day to save a child’s life in Africa.” From commercials like this we assume that Africa is really poor. In reality, that’s only in a few places in Africa, as I’ve heard from people that have actually been to Africa. It’s the same thing with maps. We think Africa is not as big as other places on the map and in terms of imperialism we don’t think it’s that powerful at all. That’s the real power of maps.

Besides the issue of size, I also want to think of a deeper meaning for this map. I want to think of a deeper meaning this map can represent: the idea that everyone descended from Africa, and that Africa is the motherland for all people, no matter their race. Scientists believe all homo sapiens are from Africa as the earliest remains are all found in present day Botswana. Scientists have found a genetic string that researchers were able to figure that every person today descended from a woman who lived in present day Botswana about 200,000 years ago. The question is: did Kai Krause think about this idea when representing Africa on his map? I think this is possibly one, but also important, meaning of Krause’s map. Krause’s underlying meaning is represented, while the obvious is right in front of us that Africa is misrepresented in ancient and modern maps due to European imperialism and the Mercator Projection.

Finally, One thing I was thinking about is that you could tie this to the idea of “counter-mapping” that we’ve discussed in class. In other words, this map is clearly meant to provoke discussion and debate and especially to challenge the usual ways like the Mercator that I previously discussed that we see maps.


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The Atlas of Sports

The Atlas of Sports is an atlas that consists of who plays what, where, and why. Sports are a main hobby for many people in the world and there are others that don’t feel the same way. The atlas of sports can show the differences in all the different sports, how they can bring people together across the globe, and what sports do for people. Sports bring out the idea of competition and there is no way to get better in life if there is no competition. Along with sports is the idea of winning and losing and there is no one who ever wants to be the loser. This atlas will help to show how people see that in sports and why we love them in our society.

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The Price of a Beer Around the World

With this map made as up to date as February 2021, there’s not much that would have changed from then to now. This map consists of the average price of a beer in each country. All of the prices are converted to U.S. dollars to be able to make all of the prices comparable to each other. This map was posted in the food and drink category on a travel website emphasizing the differences across the globe of something as simple as a beer. 

Looking at the map the most eye-catching part of the map has to be the color scheme they used to speak for their data. They use the scale from the least price being a light yellow color and then as the average price goes up the darker the yellow gets until it is turned into a red which displays the countries with the highest average price. The map also presents the readers with a scale to show the difference between the prices and colors. This scale also labels the color with a price so it can be seen when looking at the map of the world. One thing that is interesting is that in the map the colors around each other are usually alike. If there are a group of countries near each other they will have a similar color because of the way that they price their beer. Sadly there wasn’t information received from every country and going along with color all of those countries that there are no numbers for are discolored. 

When traveling many people will indulge themselves in an iced cold beer if it’s on vacation, meeting up with friends, or maybe even meeting up for work. These trips could be changed based on the amount of money people will have to spend when they are there. The map could even explain where certain places around the world are more expensive to live. While looking at the map I can see a trend with the prices. It appears that the countries in the northern hemisphere tend to have a higher average price per beer while the countries in the southern hemisphere have much lower prices and looking at the map have all the lighter colors. It is also interesting to see that the quality of beer doesn’t have to do with the cost across the globe. Also there is probably a much higher rate of consumption in some countries rather than others. This could lead to a beer being cheaper because the demand for them would be higher. This should also be our “Map of the Week” because it is cool to see the differences between certain countries. Looking at the map I was surprised to see that some countries like Qatar have an average price that is at least two times higher than the price of a beer here in the United States. 

Maps are made by creators, and those creators are doing this to have people believe in the completeness of the information and sometimes even to persuade. In this case here the creator made this map to relay information to the typical person about information that they have found. This information could be used by all types of people for all different reasons. If it has to do with vacation one could look at this to determine where they might be able to find a cheaper place to go where they can enjoy cheaper drinks that won’t hurt their pockets. We talk in class about how maps can speak to the readers and this map talks to the people in a way to avoid the places where it is so expensive and makes the cheaper places look lighter in color and more inviting. Even on the map it displays a sentence and it states, “To find the cheapest beers you have to go to South Africa.” This sentence is emphasizing the idea to go to South Africa where you can find cheap beers. The best part about this map is that no matter how much it cost people of age can always sit down and enjoy the beer of their choice. 


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Atlas of the Week-Atlas of World War II

The Atlas of the Week is a solid and necessary choice for study in our class The Rhetorical Lives of Maps. My pick is the National Geographic Atlas of World War II: History’s Greatest Conflict Revealed Through Rare Wartime Maps and New Cartography. While the title is certainly long, I believe that this Atlas is vital due to its context in history and its ramifications on the Cold War. Its context is vital because of the change of borders and the large effects caused by the global war on nations and states. It also allows our class to have more insight into Cold War maps because we would understand contested areas and battlefields better. This would allow us to understand the Soviet Bloc in western Europe, which is so often represented. Overall, this Atlas, while it is certainly basic, is an essential piece of context for our class.

Link: Atlas of World War II


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