The fascinating maps in new book Terra Incognita that may change the way you see the world
From the long-haul journeys of the 19th century to the global spread of McDonald’s and Netflix, the fascinating maps that will change the way you view the world
- Terra Incognita – 100 maps to survive the next 100 years shows the evolution of geographical maps
- The book shows how some maps skew the real size of countries like Alaska and Russia
- It also contains maps that provide insights into global cultural developments and geopolitics
“For most of human history, we literally had no idea where we were.”
This is the surprising observation made by authors Ian Goldin and Robert Muggah in the introduction to their fascinating new book Terra Incognita – 100 Cards to Survive the Next 100 Years, which definitely brings the reader up to speed.
Not only does it show the fascinating evolution of geographic maps, from an AD150 illustration of the world to slightly less wobbly, pinpoint modern versions, but it also features maps that provide insights into global cultural developments, including the incredible rise of McDonald’s and Neflix.
The authors say, ‘We are in a known world. In this book, we use maps to explain some of our greatest existential challenges and some of the most inspiring solutions.
“We are experiencing a time of disorienting uncertainty and limitless possibilities. We hope that these maps and pictures … can educate and guide us to new places of insight and understanding. ‘
Scroll down to see 10 of the fascinating charts in the band.
Ptolemy Geographia (150 AD) By Johannes Schnitzer – 1482. Terra Incognita describes this map as “one of the most influential of all time … it was the first to show latitude and longitude”. However, it “greatly misjudged the size, location and shape of most countries and waterways”.
Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio by Gerardus Mercator – 1569. According to Terra Incognita, this map was “transformative” … made by a legendary cartographer, geographer and cosmographer. Mercator’s innovation, the book explains, was to use a cylindrical projection and keep latitude and longitude on a constant course at constant 90-degree angles so that seafarers can navigate the world’s oceans more efficiently. However, the volume adds that the map that forms the basis of most modern maps has a built-in flaw – it skews the size of the countries towards the poles. For example, Alaska, Canada, Russia, and Antarctica appear much larger than they really are
Mercator and Gall-Peters maps have been merged to show the projected size of the countries compared to their actual size
This fascinating map by Francis Galton, published by the Royal Geographic Society in 1881, shows how many days it took to travel from London to various points around the world. Terra Incognita announces that “it assumes favorable travel conditions, travel arrangements have been made in advance and that travelers have the necessary financial resources”. The map shows that in the 19th century you need to plan 40 days to reach Sydney
Each point represents a single McDonald’s location. The map shows how the fast food chain extends to South America, southern Africa and Southeast Asia. Terra Incognita points out that McDonald’s began with a single store in the late 1930s – and that it now has more than 36,000 stores in over 100 countries
This map shows the United States’ global military footprint, which is sizable. According to Terra Incognita, as of 2015, the US will support more than 800 bases and 200,000 active troops in 177 countries and territories
In 2019, there was more violence outside the war zones than in these. The book states: “In countries like Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, the Philippines and South Africa, more people were killed by gangs, militias and police in the past year than in virtually every war zone combined.”
How Netflix expanded from one to 190 countries in ten years: These maps show the expansion of Netflix between 1997 and 2015 and then the explosive growth until 2016. Today, Netflix has more subscribers worldwide than any other streaming service combined, emphasizes Terra Incognita
Mapping Starbucks Worldwide Distribution: There are more than 30,000 Starbucks offices worldwide, one third of which is in the United States
These two maps compare global internet access in 2000 and 2018, with countries where access is restricted to less than 10 percent of the yellow-colored population and countries where 50 percent and more of citizens have access to red to purple and dark blue have (90 to 100 percent)
Terra Incognita by Ian Goldin and Robert Muggah is published as a hardcover book by Century