167 - Gales in the Atlantic, Gaels in the North Sea
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
On 23 July 1977, this map appeared in Krazy Comic, a short-lived (Oct ’76 – Apr ’78) British comic magazine. Judging by the colours alone, this is pretty much your standard atlas relief chart, green being low-lying land and ever brighter colours indicating higher altitudes (and differing hues of blue showing underwater elevations). But it’s not an ordinary map. Something funny happened to the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. The largest two of the British Isles have switched place, supposedly after a gale swept the Gaels of Ireland over what is sometimes referred to as the ‘mainland’ and dropped the Emerald Isle in the North Sea somewhere between England and Holland. More has happened to the map – indicated by the mode of projection indicated at the top left hand corner of the map: comical, not conical.
This map was kindly provided by Adrian Bailey.
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