The world map that reboots your brain

The world map that reboots your brain

In truth we really need to regularly revise and redesign all the tools we use. All tools simplify, which makes them vehicles for potential harm when the risks of oversimplification are not talked about, or worst-case: forgotten.

The author uses the example of a world map based on the Mercator projection1 to show how tools useful in one context can be wildly misleading in another.

In this case, while the Mercator projection was a useful tool to navigate by sea because it preserved directionality, it is terrible for conveying the actual size of land masses especially as they get further away from the equator.

This serves as a good reminder of why its important to understand the tools we use to understand the world around us. All such tools, by necessity, are simplifcations of the world - this isn't an issue by itself but it becomes one if we forget that the map is not the territory.

What tools do you use on a regular basis (besides Dendron of course) and what tradeoffs are they making in the way that they present information?


  1. The Mercator projection is a technique for mapping out a three dimensional globe on a two dimensional surface - a consequence is that the further a land mass is from the equator, the larger it will appear to beΛ„