Very rarely, depending on where you are in the world, your compass can actually point to true north.
Recently, magnetic compasses at Greenwich pointed directly at true north for the first time in 360 years. This is currently happening in Western Australia too. But what does it mean?
Geologic map of the near side of the moon by Wilhelms & McCauley in 1971.
We have the Apollo missions to thank for a lot of our geological knowledge about the moon.
Maps that divide the world into 'no-go' and 'safe' zones has created a new politics of danger.
Demonstrators protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court, in Washington, on March 26.
The US public is more aware than ever of partisan gerrymandering, and they're pushing local governments to make reforms.
Do you know where you are right now?
Ana de Sousa/shutterstock.com
Google, Amazon and other powerful groups are renaming American cities and neighborhoods. That may make the area more appealing to newcomers – but, in many cases, residents aren't happy.
Pollutants not shown.
Childhood asthma cases caused by traffic pollution are on the decline. But children in some parts of the country are faring better than others.
The orientations of the stone walls that crisscross the Northeastern U.S. can tell a geomagnetic tale as well as a historical one.
Scientific inspiration struck a geologist after many walks through the woods in New York and New England. These ruins hold the secret of where the compass pointed north when they were built centuries ago.
Inequality is one of the major issues of the modern age – but understanding where it happens is harder than you think.
The map that went viral.
Maps can show "the big picture" to lots and lots of people in an engaging and colourful way.
The world’s remaining wilderness. Dark blue = terrestrial. Light blue = marine.
Modified with permission from Protect the last of the wild, Watson et al, Nature (2018)
Zooming in on deforestation and other wild habitat loss can help us work out how best to protect wilderness.
Which is the right map for you?
If you want to really learn your way around a new place, paper maps still trump digital options.
Store closures in Swansea.
It's not just affecting areas in post-industrial decline – retail spaces are closing and losing value across England and Wales.
Wait – where am I?
Without their devices, regular GPS users take longer to negotiate a route, travel more slowly and make larger navigational errors.
Thanks to nonmedical exemptions, vaccination rates are falling in some states.
In 18 states, parents can choose to exempt their children from vaccines for nonmedical 'philosophical' or 'personal belief' reasons.
Serban Bogdan / shutterstock
A new law means the Shetland Isles must now be placed in their true location – but mapping experts aren't entirely convinced.
An Oregon wildfire in August 2018.
U.S. Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Region
Communities that are majority black, Hispanic or Native American are over 50 percent more vulnerable to wildfire compared to other communities.
An algorithm based on commuting patterns makes new 'Greater Glasgow' the biggest local authority in the UK.
A river in Van Diemen’s Land, charted during Nicolas Baudin’s 1802 journey.
National Library of Australia
Today, many Australian urbanites see rivers as little more than picturesque places for a paddle. But in the colonial era, rivers served as highways, drinking sources, sewers, and routes to discovery.
Story maps like this one can help policymakers better understand and respond to the needs of recently resettled refugees.
From resettling Syrian refugees to mitigating climate change in Ecuador, interactive 'story maps' harvest communities' stories to help policymakers and neighbors better understand complex problems.
Maasai women on a conservation project in Kenya.
Joan de la Malla
A new map shows that more than 25% of all land outside Antarctica is held and managed by Indigenous peoples. This makes these communities vital allies in the global conservation effort.