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Articles on Maps

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Tharp with an undersea map at her desk. Rolled sonar profiles of the ocean floor are on the shelf behind her. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the estate of Marie Tharp

Marie Tharp pioneered mapping the bottom of the ocean 6 decades ago – scientists are still learning about Earth’s last frontier

Born on July 30, 1920, geologist and cartographer Tharp changed scientific thinking about what lay at the bottom of the ocean – not a featureless flat, but rugged and varied terrain.
One nine-year-old chose his local supermarket as a place he valued because he could “spend time with mum and help decide what goes in our trolley”. Shutterstock

Public places through kids’ eyes – what do they value?

When primary school children in a disadvantaged part of Sydney were asked to map what they valued in the area, their choices were revealing and sometimes surprising.
Three very different maps, using the same deprivation data, for the same place: Hartlepool, UK. Samuel Langton/MMU, using OS Data © Crown copyright 2019.

Even the most beautiful maps can be misleading

When mapping deprivation, using traditional boundaries can distort the data and distract readers from important information.
Flag of Kurdistan on military uniform. Bumble Dee/Shutterstock.com

Why there is no Kurdish nation

Despite many attempts, the Kurds have never won and kept their own nation -- though, after World War I, they came close.
Very rarely, depending on where you are in the world, your compass can actually point to true north. https://www.shutterstock.com

Explainer: what happens when magnetic north and true north align?

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?
The orientations of the stone walls that crisscross the Northeastern U.S. can tell a geomagnetic tale as well as a historical one. John Delano

Old stone walls record the changing location of magnetic north

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.
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)

Five maps that reveal the world’s remaining wilderness

Zooming in on deforestation and other wild habitat loss can help us work out how best to protect wilderness.

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