Perspective

This week I attended a geography lesson at a school. It was a great trip down memory lane. I enjoyed geography because it taught me about the world out there. While sitting in the classroom I took in the walls. There was three or four world maps, in addition to hundreds of other stimulating pictures and maps! As the school was in the UK, the maps were Atlantic-centred (see below).

  
Until I lived in Australia I thought all maps were Atlantic-centred. New Zealand was a small country stuck at the bottom right of the world (see below). Then I discovered Pacific-centred maps. Australia, New Zealand and East Asia are in the middle and the UK is up in the top left corner. I bought a Pacific-centred map in Australia and Japan. Same planet, different perspective. I bought the school a Pacific-centred map for the wall. 

 I think we need to keep a watchful eye on the filters through which we judge things. 

Another great cartographic example  of perspective relates to the challenge of projecting a spherical globe onto a flat page. Contrast the Mercator Projection, which overstates the size of the northern hemisphere countries, with the equal-area Peters Projection. Same planet, different perspective.

I spent some time last week in my wheelchair, and so my height relative to others changed. I am 6’2″, so have either been at the same height or higher than others. This changed. (Maybe I should spend time in The Netherlands, where I always looked upwards). Same person, different perspective.

Andrew Knowlman

I am a 50-year old father of two children, married to Jane. I live in Hertfordshire, UK. I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in April 2015.

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