Team Map Presentation – “North Korean Prison Camps”

The map of North Korea’s concentrations camps are produced with the help of Google Earth, a highly interactive digital map. The rapid development of these satellite maps has given us the chance to analyze the countries on the other side of the world with stunning details. Some of the concentration camps are recognized in the map since those distinctive characteristics  of the geography are matched with the traits of a typical prison camps we analyze.

Typically, most of those prison camps fall within three categories: the political prison camps, labor re-education camps, and the regional collection and labor training camps. People are abused as the jailers want in those camps. Although they are categorized according their different uses, in essence, they all become a system of extortion to enforce the state’s monopoly and enrich their security forces through the power of life and death.

However, when we disclose the locations of those camps in the Google Earth and display the cruelty in the camps to the world, we haven’t thought about the problem of privacy. When we analyze the highly classified places of other countries  without permissions, is it a kind of invasion of privacy? Even if we are doing something good and trying to save people in desperate situations, we cannot avoid the discussion of such issue.

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Wiley/National Geographic College Atlas of the World

This atlas is important specifically to this class because it was created for college students. The atlas is very compact compared to others, while also staying very informative. Much of this class discusses maps and their effect on the viewer and the world. This atlas has 25 themes including topics such as population, health, and politics which all are critical themes discussed in class.

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Middle East to the Whole World

Map of Incidents related to ISIS.

The Islamic State, or ISIS, is a militant organization that emerged as an offshoot of al Qaeda in 2014. The terrorist group quickly took control of large parts of Iraq and Syria, raising its black flag in victory and declaring the creation of a caliphate and imposing strict Islamic rule. This map created by CNN portrays the terrorist activities of ISIS a radical Islamic terrorist group. It shows the attacks around the world—not just the attacks isolated to the Middle East. The map is very simple for a viewer to understand as the red points show attacks influenced directly by ISIS and the blue points represent those that were inspired by ISIS. However, the simplicity of the map is also negative as it leaves out many important details. The reason for leaving important details out could be because the map serves the United States’ foreign political agenda for increased war against terror.

The United States has been a vital acting force in the War on Terror and this map shows the damage done by the largest most active radical group. ISIS has conducted or inspired more than 140 terrorist attacks in over 30 countries. The exact statistics of their attacks are unknown due to the location of many of their attacks but the fatalities have been estimated to be at least 2,043 people and the injured include thousands more. The statistics and detail portrayed in this map is a large concern. The maps records the number of “incidents” within a certain area and the issue with this is that the word incident is very vague. An incident could stem from a stabbing all the way to a mass bombing.

The issues stated with the physical representation of the map on serves to benefit the political agenda of the United States. The lack of detail allows for more “incidents” to be recorded, thus making the impact of ISIS look greater. The maps political purpose is to inform people of the dangers of ISIS. It shows how large of an impact the terrorist organization has so that it justifies and explains the need for the War on Terror. It cartographically displays the need for American forces in the Middle East by showing that terrorism has spread rapidly and now has a tremendous effect on not just the Middle East but the whole world. The map is also made to inspire governments to be more active in ending world terror possibly through policy change and policing as it calls out each country and their statistics individually. 

The actual visual of the map is basic and simple in a zoomed out image. The background and countries are shaded grey with no border lines or country labels. This is to show that terrorism has no borders and is thus a global issue not a national one. The map uses a borderless projection to show that today’s globalized world is much more fluid even in the case of terrorism. The Map also includes a legend that shows that the larger the circle the more incidents per country. This is simple yet problematic because the size of the points are difficult to differentiate when viewing the map from a global perspective. In addition to the vague visual the map does not have any written explanation for the incidents portrayed.  The color scheme of the map is very important to notice—especially the choice of colors used. The attacks conducted directly by ISIS are in red because they stand out the most especially with the dull grey background. The attacks inspired by ISIS are in blue, a different color. This separation of the conduct of the attacks is important politically because it shows that ISIS is so powerful and dangerous that they can influence normal people to execute attacks in their name. This difference is very simplistic and easy to understand but too vague, it forces the viewer to make unnecessary assumptions. This separation could also be viewed politically because the areas in red are places the United States would like to deploy troops. The red points help the agenda because it shows that the United States wants to beat the “roots” of ISIS. 

In conclusion, this map is a political map created to inform the general public that terrorism has spread globally, enforcing the ideology that the United States needs to remain active in fighting the War on Terror in the Middle East, the stem of most terrorist organizations. The simplest yet vague portrayal of this projection make it an easy map to understand while steering the viewer in a political direction. The lack of details allows for more points which helps the United States war effort.

The interactive map is available in the source below.


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The World Median Ages

The map that I chose is a map of the world median ages from every major country across the continent. I found that this map is much easier to understand than previous maps my peers have studied this semester and maps that we have discussed as a class throughout the semester. It is much easier to understand because it is very simple and universal to everyone around the world that can read numbers. Another difference I saw is that this map has zero propaganda in it. In previous maps that my peers chose, there was a prevalent amount of propaganda shown through the creation of the map. The map I selected was created to obstruct any bias because the focus of the map was to present the facts on a blue print of the Mercator projection. You are unable to find any bias in this map because you cannot use the median age factor as a bias due to the fact that there was no evidence to back up any claim for a lower median age rate or a higher rate.

The median age maps data was gathered in 2014 by the Central Intelligence Agency and the map was finalized at the end of that year. Some of the data gathered shows that there are 7.5 billion people in the world today and of those, “There are 1.2 billion people between the ages of 15 and 24 in the world today–200 million of whom are in Africa – about 75 million are looking for work” (Guardian). This quote from the Guardian shows that not only are there a majority of young people around the world today, but that there is a huge chunk of them living in Africa. There has to be a reason for the high numbers of young people living in Africa. My hypothesis is that the people in Africa do not have the schooling that other major countries have, which would cause people to have a lower level of education.. This could result in a higher birth rate because they may not be educated on sex education, birth control, and they may not realize the responsibilities that parenting requires. Another quote from the Guardian gives insight on how many people there are in this young age group. “Nearly 300 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are aged between 10 and 24, and that number is expected to climb to about 561 million by the middle of this century. Africa has the highest concentration of young people anywhere on the planet”(Guardian). Some of the other data shows that the world’s youngest country is Niger, with a median age of 15.1, and Uganda comes in at a close second at 15.5. Another reason why these countries have such a lower median age is because their life expectancy is much lower then countries like the U.S, which have a median age that is double of the one for Africa. Africa’s life expectancy is 64, while the U.S is 78 (Statista).

On the flip side, an aging population presents a different set of problems: Japan and Germany are tied for the world’s oldest countries, with median ages of 46.1. This is relevant when you look at the reason for these countries having a median age 30 years older than Africa. The reason that they are much higher is because these countries have a much more stable economy, and a much better education system along with being more developed nations overall. This is very important to note because having a higher median age rate directly correlates to the state of the nations economy and development. The other thing that this demonstrates is that the older median age countries tend to have a much higher life expectancy rate. This shows that they have a much healthier society than the other countries with a lower age.

Just because one country’s median age is higher, doesn’t always mean their economy is better off. For example, the U.S has a median age rate of 37.6 while Russia has a median age rate of 38.9. Even though their ages are pretty similar, there is a huge difference between these two countries. Russia has a GDP of 1.3 trillion while the US has a GDP of 18.6 trillion. This just shows that the US has a much better economy and is a wealthier nation than Russia. As a whole, I think this map taught me a lot through a greater understanding of the meaning behind the varying median age ranges in different countries. This map gave me deeper insight of a new map to look at the country we live in and the countries that surround us.


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Blog of the Week: Maps Mania

Maps Mania is a unique blog that allows its readers to interact with maps of many categories in order to gain a better perspective. Maps Mania is dedicated in finding the “best digital interactive maps on the internet and the tools used to create them.” The blog is extremely diverse, with maps ranging from “Mapping the Worst Bus Stop in London,” to “Mapping the Industrial Revolution.” If you are interested in working with maps and gaining the power of being your own mapmaker, this is the blog for you.

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Atlas of the Week: Concise Atlas of the World


This atlas provides a deeper look into the superbly designed cartography of informative maps. The atlas contains stunning graphics in order to “portray unique physical geography and highlights the sprawling extent of major cities.” Furthermore, the Concise Atlas of the World has incorporated beautiful and accurate satellite images which cover the whole world. 

27 Best World Atlases For Map Lovers In 2017

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Global Internet Usage Based on Time of Day

My Map of the Week, “Global Internet Usage Based on Time of Day,” is a unique outlook on the global internet usage of certain areas of the world, depending on the time of day. The map is almost like a short video which changes color depending on the time of day which is demonstrated by a wave like image showing daylight. The color changes vary from red to purple, red being the highest amount of internet usage and purple being the lowest. The map is interesting as it shows a measure of internet usage based on time of day around the world, however, one could argue the reliability of the map. There is a direct relationship between science and mapping, but Wood would argue that we can’t fully trust the science behind a map. Even if the map is scientific, this does not mean it is fully credible. For instance, where did the mapmaker find these statistics? Furthermore, there is no quantitative measurement, rather a qualitative one, which is extremely vague to the viewer of this map. This map conveys a quite obvious point in which the internet is most heavily used in the day time, and least used in the darkest hours of the night.

The justification of this map being the map of the week is because of its direct relation to our maps class. This map is relying on science to be accurate and justifiable. Also, this map gives certain outlooks on the world’s internet usage at a certain point in time. Studying mapmaking is dependent on analyzing maps in a screenshot of time and analyzing how the time affects the map. Wood would argue that this map can be critically analyzed in a specific location and time frame. The map is also a video, or a loop, which breaks mapping standards. One could argue this is a revolutionary map. This is a map thats gives a specific category, internet usage, a broad outlook worldwide. It gives a broad outlook on the world because the map uses a universal standard and color grade to depict internet usage. In doing so, the reader can easily view the map and see how internet usage varies in association to location and time.

The map is unique due to interactive movement and intelligent mapmaking decisions. By looking at this map we can further understand the world in which we live and further our knowledge of other countries and how they differ from us. This map gives the reader the ability to learn a plethora of information on different countries. This map not only informs us on how we have a greater and easier opportunity to access the internet, but how this gives an unfair advantage in education, research, economics and more. Although the internet is looked at as being a small perk of living in a Western nation, the mapmaker is implying how something small, can have a larger and more powerful effect on the world. The mapmaker used a black background and  white borders in order to for the colors to pop and to show that the internet has no boundaries. The internet can be used in anywhere at any time, even the ocean. The water could have been blue, but the mapmaker intelligently chose to make the map black to demonstrate the power of Western nations, and the inability of third world countries to access the internet. Furthermore, the map helps demonstrate our privilege and the ways in which we differ from the rest of the world. By looking at the map, one can see that the larger first world countries have completely shaded in areas. This demonstrates that most people have access to the internet and are connected to and using it constantly throughout the day. Even in the nighttime, Western nations are constantly experiencing far greater internet usage than third world countries in peak daytime hours.

It makes you realize that the world is dominated by a new age of social media and internet usage for work, studies, socializing, and for our own personal reason and enjoyment. If you look at the other third world countries, there is little internet usage or certain smaller areas the have a small shaded area. This depicts the power we, as well as other first world countries have. Although internet doesn’t exactly correlate to power, it does give a sense of opportunity and privilege that others do not possess. The internet is used as a tool to further knowledge and research. The internet has many work benefits and the advance in technology almost wipes out labor work demand in third world countries.

Having the opportunity to use the internet for studying and working further benefits individuals and the country. It helps expand a countries knowledge and resources through things like research and trade. Countries that can expand knowledge through research are constantly growing and countries that can use the internet for trade help a country gain resources and expand. This map critically implies that internet usage is a colossal resource that first world countries possess which give an uneven edge and help them maintain and expand power.


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Failed/Fragile States Index Map

The Failed/Fragile States Index was created by The Fund For Peace. The FFP was Founded in 1957 and is an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. and Abuja, Nigeria. It works to prevent conflict and promote sustainable security globally by building relationships and trust across diverse sectors. The index is used as an early warning for a nation’s vulnerability to collapse and to call for effective policy responses. In the 2010, the FFP changed the name of the index from Failed to Fragile and also altered the the scale for how close a nation is to collapse of succeed. The map incorporates a unique feature of interactivity that allows its users to explore each country in depth in connection to its ranking.

Given that the map was designed by the Fund For Peace, it is clear the goal of this map was to raise awareness to the countries that are most in need of assistance across the world.  There are, however a few issues with this map. The main one being the label of “failed states”. The main problem with this label is that it writes off certain countries as failures despite lacking much context.  While they have a system they believe in that factors in many different statistics to determine their rankings, the terms “success” and “failure” are objective terms that mean different things to different people.

They have since updated their map to the title “Fragile States Index” and it is now an interactive map that gives more detail on every country and why it is ranked where it is.  For example, areas like South Sudan are now singled out and spotted as a clear area that needs help, whereas the 2010 map somewhat grouped areas of Africa together. Thus, in many ways the FFP is much more successful now with their map today than in 2010.


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Atlas of the Week

The Routledge historical Atlas of Jerusalem is a historical atlas that gives an overview of Jerusalem from biblical times to present day. This atlas offers clear pictures and maps of the past 150 years. It does a great job of depicting the impact of Jewish people on the development of Jerusalem. This relates back to our class because we have studied maps that are pretty historical and show a lot of bias. These maps can be seen to show bias as well.

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Blog of the week: Map of Jerusalem

I chose this blog site because i really find jerusalem very interesting and i love the country. this site was super interesting to me, seeing the maps and blog posts about the map… if you get the chance to subscribe to see some maps, you definitely should.. you will not be disappointed. Jerusalem is a beautiful place and I cant wait to go and see it again.


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