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Articles in Cartography

Customizable Maps of Russia for Downloading

By Martin W. Lewis | December 22, 2015 |

The basic GeoCurrents customizable map of Russia has been divided into its 85 constituent units, which are officially knows as Russia’s federal subjects.

Mapping ISIS at the Institute For the Study of War

By Martin W. Lewis | December 18, 2015 | 4 Comments

(Note: This post is by Evan Lewis, not Martin Lewis.)
ISIS has proven to be as difficult to conceptualize as it has been to counteract. It has defied easy classifications and has been misunderstood and underestimated repeatedly by most of its opponents, often with disastrous consequences. In the effort to understand ISIS, its tactics, strategies, goals, and weak points, no one …

Free Customizable Maps of Africa for Download

By Martin W. Lewis | December 14, 2015 | 3 Comments

Over the past few years, I have created a number of customizable base maps that I subsequently used to make the original GeoCurrents thematic maps that have been posted on this site (which are themselves now searchable by country and by topic). These customizable base maps were initially created by hand in Keynote, the Apple presentation program that competes with …

Superb Maps from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Kurdish Issue

By Martin W. Lewis | December 4, 2015 | 4 Comments

I have been generally quite impressed with the mapping of the current war in Iraq and Syria. This is a complicated and rapidly changing conflict, and I find it highly convenient that major newspapers, magazines, websites, think tanks, and the indispensible Wikipedia provide comprehensive and often-updated cartographic coverage. The best maps that I have found come from the Institute for …

The Global Spread of Heterodox Christianity

By Martin W. Lewis | November 12, 2015 | 7 Comments

As noted in an earlier post, I regard Scolbert08’s map of world religions as a cartographic masterpiece. I do, however, have some qualms about the categories that it employs. I am particularly dissatisfied with the “other” grouping, which is composed, according to the key, of indigenous/animist faiths, non-Trinitarian Christianity, and Sikhism. These religions, or groups of religions, hardly belong together. …

Religious Complexity in Northeastern South Asia

By Martin W. Lewis | October 29, 2015 | 3 Comments

Northeastern South Asia has one of the world’s most complex religious environments, and such complexity is captured nicely in Scolbert08’s amazing map of world religions. To illustrate this, I have posted a detail from this map of this region, both in annotated and non-annotated form, along with a smaller version of the same map juxtaposed with other maps of the …

Scolbert08’s Magnificent Map of World Religion, Part 1

By Martin W. Lewis | October 27, 2015 | 6 Comments

An astoundingly detailed map of world religion has recently been published by reddit user “scolbert08.” The map is much too large for me to post in its entirely on GeoCurrents, but one can find the full-resolution map both here and at the interesting website Brilliant Maps. The level of precision found on this map is truly remarkable; over much of the …

The Pitfalls and Promises of Mapping World Religion

By Martin W. Lewis | October 15, 2015 | 9 Comments

I have long been dissatisfied with world religion maps, especially those that are available on the internet. To be sure, mapping religion is an inherently difficult task. Many areas contain multiple faiths, just as different places often vary tremendously in regard religiosity itself. Changes in the religious landscape, moreover, are often difficult to capture. Most of Europe, for example, is …

But are There Any Jobs in Geography?

By Martin W. Lewis | September 14, 2015 |

(Note to readers: Last week I promised a GeoCurrents post on secession movements and proposals for the partitioning internationally recognized sovereign states. That post is still forthcoming, but it is taking considerably more time than I had anticipated. At present, I hope to post it by the middle of this week. In the meantime, I have written something a little …

Argentina’s HDI: The Wikipedia’s Worst Map?

By Martin W. Lewis | September 1, 2015 |

Although the Wikipedia includes a multitude of fine maps, its cartographic archive is by no means uniformly excellent. Perhaps the worst Wikipedia map that I have encountered, posted to the left, depicts Argentinian provinces in accordance with their HDI (Human Development Index*) rankings. As can be seen, all provinces are placed in the same category, that of “very high HDI,” …

Short GeoCurrents Break, But First a Seemingly Impossible Rainfall Map

By Martin W. Lewis | July 29, 2015 | 2 Comments

(Note to readers: GeoCurrents will soon be taking a short summer break. Regular posting will resume in mid-August. But before the pause begins, I have one more post, which discusses the possibility of a seemingly impossible map. )
The map posted to the left appears to be bogus, as it depicts patterns that would seemingly not be found in nature. It …

Intriguing Features on the Oxford Map of the English Wikipedia

By Martin W. Lewis | November 30, 2014 | 16 Comments

As a habitual Wikipedia reader, I am particularly intrigued by the map and article entitled “Mapping English Wikipedia” found at Information Geographies (at the Oxford Internet Institute). Here, almost 700,000 dots have been placed on a world map to show the locations of geotagged articles in the English-language Wikipedia. As the authors explain:

Not all articles are geotagged, but almost all …

Mapping the Global Distribution of Information at Oxford

By Martin W. Lewis | November 28, 2014 |

A variety of interesting and informative maps and other visualizations of global information flow can be found at the website called Information Geographies put out by the Oxford Internet Institute. The goal of the larger project is to:

[P]roduce a comprehensive atlas of contemporary information and Internet geographies, that will draw on four years of focused research conducted at the Oxford …

Does the Red-State/Blue-State Model of U.S. Electoral Politics Still Work?

By Martin W. Lewis | November 13, 2014 |

Since the 2000 election, it has been common to divide the United States into a “Red America” of reliably Republican-voting states and a “Blue America” of reliably Democratic-voting states, a maneuver that highlights the relative scarcity of “purple” or swing states. As can be seen in the Wikipedia map posted to the left, “blue” states are concentrated in the Northeast, …

Gerrymandering in the United States: Crimes Against Geography?

By Martin W. Lewis | November 8, 2014 | 7 Comments

(Note: The next several GeoCurrents posts will examine the 2014 U.S. Midterm Elections)
In my large lecture course on the History and Geography of Current Global Events, I always begin by showing an enigmatic or amusing map with the labels removed. I then ask the class what it represents. Recent examples include a map of the range of fruit bats (for …

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