Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Hate These Maps!!!

Here are two maps that have been raising my hackles recently. But since many among the L&TM5K are map dorks themselves, and have proved themselves game for a little analytical puzzle, I thought I'd let YOU tell me why I hate these maps.

This one is being seen on billboards and print media all over the City of Roses....




...and this one was from a recent lead story in the 'gonian.


Oooh! I HATES 'em!!!

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Like mappy challenges? Frequent commenter Karmasartre sent me a link to this time-consuming online Quiz recently. I scored 158. If you can beat me on your first try, I'll come up with some kind of fabulous prize. I dare you. That's right -- I'm bringing the heat. Do your best, suckers.

22 comments:

Jenners said...

Once again, I am left clueless.
You don't like shading?

Rebel said...

I am at a loss. Maybe you don't like the location of the flash reflected in picture one - does it obscure your hometown? As for number two, is there something incorrect about the county lines? I should think you'd like the county lines deliniated like this. Perhaps it's the choice of color... something about how Lane County sticks out like a sore thumb. You are an enigma sir.

Rebel said...

PS: Love the commercial free blog!

Michael5000 said...

Wow, early responders! I'll give the cartogeeks a swipe at it, though.

Eversaved said...

I got a 122 the first time on the map game.

Not as astounding as the 158, but still, I'm kind of proud of it.

I have no idea at all about why you hate the maps, though.

fingerstothebone said...

Hmm, not sure about the 1st one. But the 2nd one, here's my guess -- it tells you nothing. The color-coding might as well be a population density chart. The higher the population in the county, the more DP...well, duh.

The first map...I can also say that it tells you nothing, which is true. But I'm not sure what it's trying to say at all.

The Calico Cat said...

maybe the first one is trying to say that they are farming sloar energy in the capital? & Since that is on the coast, it is not quite a sunny as the areas on white in the second map that show low demographics...

Pure speculation on my part - off to try the quiz...

The Calico Cat said...

Dammit - I only got 157! (I would have done better if I could type.)

That geography class in college paid off!

maybe I get a prize for being the closest without going over...

d said...

i did terribly at the map quiz. but we all know i suck at geography (and everything else but that's beside the point). i only got 81. mostly though it was frustrating because it wouldn't take the closest approximation and i'm sorry but i can't spell uzbekistan.

i have no idea why you hate the maps. other than that the top one really tells you absolutely nothing. but then i don't think it's supposed to, it's just supposed to be saying that oregon is going solar.

Elaine said...

You have SUN in Oregon? Maybe it is False Advertising that you dislike! and the idea of sorting the population by "domestic partnerships"--(hmm...so...that we can shun the lifestyles if we disagree with them? What purpose does it serve, in other words...)
I found the map quiz annoying because I typed many countries but could not get credit due to alternate spellings--Surinam was what I put in, but the map wanted Suriname. Had a lot of trouble w/ typos, too. Got a discouraging 98, but even with credit for my rejects was nowhere close to 158. Word-finding is a challenge nowadays, alas. They should give me partial credit for getting the first letter! LOL Sort of a Menopause Adjustment.

Cartophiliac said...

As the resident "cartogeek" with "carto" in his name, I suppose I am obliged to respond...

Solar power from lottery - probably because only pennies go to this cause, but the "stupid tax" providers like to claim they are making a difference.

Domestic Partnerships by county - misleading like any national, state or county map that tries to display numerical comparisons, but do not take into account the fact that many of those low DP counties are also sparsely populated, skewing the perception.

snowgirl said...

Not sure about maps... but that quiz website, sporcle, yeah, I'm addicted.

lamanyana said...

Well, with the first one, I'm not sure exactly what they're trying to say by putting the Oregon-as-solar-panel on a satellite picture of the NW at night, since solar panels don't work at night. I'm not sure my feelings go as far as hate, though - more mild confusion.

As for the second one, previous commenters have covered it fine: It just shows population density (and therefore makes you think that the per-capita version of the map must not have shown what they wanted it to.)

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

I don't like the maps with raised topography where you can FEEL a country. It's all very perverted.

Michael5000 said...

OK, several people have nailed Map #2. By listing raw numbers of domestic partnerships instead of doing some simple division and giving us d.p.'s per capita, they've done nothing but give us a population density map of the state. Multnomah and Lane have lots, because that's where the cities are. Harney and Grant have few, because very few people live out there. With "unstandardized data," as we say in cartographic circles, the map is technically correct, but it is completely pointless.

On to Map #1. The HIDEOUS, GLARING problem here is the coastlines of Washington and California, which are not. even. close.

Secondarily, those "city at night" lights have no relationship with where actual towns are in the surrounding states.

Thirdly, they have for some reason stretched Oregon 20 or 30 percent wider east to west than it actually is.

Here's what it's like being me: the first time I saw this map on a billboard, I instantly saw all of the above with a sensation not unlike nausea. It may be hard for you to understand, but this map literally disgusts me.

Michael5000 said...

@Jenners: Actually, they got the shading right.

@Rebel: In a way. Lane County sticks out like a sore thumb because lots of people live there. But I can tell from a glance at the table that it would (and should) stand out like a much SORER thumb if the map was made correctly. Which is to say that it (and Jackson and Benton Counties) are where the highest actual concentration of d.p.'s are, if my quick mental arithmatic is right.

@fingers: You are right, it's a graphic device, not a map per se. Which makes it all the more amazing that it got its cartography so dazzlingly wrong.

@Calico: For reals? You really got 157 on your first try?

@Elaine: We have five months of glorious sunshine in Oregon! It's quite nice, while it lasts. Then the mist weasels come.

Oh, welcome to the show, Elaine! And snowgirl! I'm not sure I've seen you around before.

@Dr. Ken: It's called bas-relief. Yours is the bitterness of a young man who eventually realized that "Twin Peaks" was a fictional place. Nothing to be ashamed of. Most boys go through a period of experimenting with bas-relief maps.

The Calico Cat said...

Yeah, I actually liked geography in college. We got to color in a real honest to goodness coloring book. I swear that was our text book! (I had a similar coloring book for Anatomy, but that did not help as much...)

We had to learn crap like the Bosporus Straits & other significant geographical landmarks in addition to countries... I am good on the continents, not so good on all of those tiny island nations & when you get into the "stans" my spelling sucks! Not to mention my awful typing.

I remember learning Adriatic, Baltic & Caspian Seas because they are A, B, C - I still think it was really nice of them to align themselves so nicely for me.

I am one of those people who knows a bit about almost everything, but not a lot on any one thing...

Nichim said...

Thanks for articulating what it is about that solar Oregon map - I felt like "that's not the shape of Oregon" but then that seemed obviously to be an incorrect intuition. But it's really that that's not the SIZE of Oregon - it's like they've put Oregon on top of a crystal ball and let Washington and California melt away or something. I wonder what made them want to do that?

mrs.5000 said...

1 Bob Dylan, circa 1965 or '66.
2 The Rolling Stones
3 OK, now we start guessing, because, you know, every group of four or five white guys with longish hair looks the same. I think this is The Doors. You can tell I was never really a big Doors fan, because I don't know if the "The" is capitalized. Also, I don't know what they looked like. Except I think that could be Jim Morrison on the left.
4 Jimi Hendrix and...The Who. Thank you Pete Townsend's nose.
5 For the first, I'll say The Byrds. For the second, I'll say they're living proof that plaid pants do NOT improve one's posture. I'm hoping they're a stupid group, like Paul Revere and the Raiders.

mrs.5000 said...

And how 'bout those maps, huh?

Morgan said...

112!

The Calico Cat said...

I forgot - I would have been for cr@p if they wanted us to place the countries - not just name a bunch of countries. As in I know the names of countries in Asia & Africa, but for a majority of them, I would be hard pressed to place them.