Map Exaggeration

MODIS fire map (from 2006)

Examples of exaggeration in maps. The problem is that the maps’ pixels are larger than the points they depict: space junk appears larger, entire neighbourhoods seem to be under foreclosure and — in the above case, a map of anthropogenic fire — “each pixel represents around 1000 square miles. Looking at the image its not hard to imagine that the entire world is aflame.” This is a normal issue with maps: at even large scales, parallel roads and railroads have to be offset to be depicted, for example, or they’d be on top of each other, and are shown at thicknesses that, if they were to scale, would be a mile wide. Via Kottke.

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