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What's in a Name?

What's in a Name? | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page | Scoop.it

The Pentagon has upset patriots by labeling the body of water between Korea and Japan in an exhibition depicting various battles fought during the 1950-53 Korean War as "Sea of Japan" rather than "East Sea."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, August 13, 2013 10:14 AM

Earlier this week I posted on whether a group of islands off the coast of Argentina should be called the Falkland Islands or Las Malvinas.  There is some geopolitical significance to which name you ascribe to particular places.  Does it matter if I call the sea to the east of the Korean Peninsula the "East Sea" and if someone else refers to this same body of water west of Japan the "Sea of Japan?"  For many years the Sea of Japan has been the defacto name internationally and South Korean officials have lobbied (quite successfully) to bolster the legitimacy of the name within the media, publishers and cartographers and other governments.  Last summer, a worker in the South Korean government's Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested that I share some resources that state South Korea's position(see also this 10 minute video), showing their commitment to this rebranding effort.  Also see this GeoCurrents article on the subject in 2012, after South Korea's failed attempt to get international recognition.


Questions to Ponder: What other places have multiple names?  What are the political overtones to the name distinctions? What are other tricky places on the map where distinct groups would label/draw things differently?  Is the map an 'unbiased' source of information? 


Tags: language, toponyms, South Korea, historical, colonialism, cartography.

Justin McCullough's curator insight, October 17, 2013 10:16 AM

I agree with Peter Kim and others that are fighting to have the name changed to the East Sea. The term "Sea of Japan" was used in colonial times of South Korea. Now that those times are long gone, it I can understand why South Korea would want to get rid of anything related to that time period. This actually reminds of something that I'm going over in my colonial history class; the Pueblo Revolt (1680). During this time Indians revolted against the Spanish colonizers oppressing them and taking away their traditions, forcibly converting them to Christianity. During their revolt the Indians destroyed many of the Spanish institutions, especially those related to religion. They destroyed churches and even defaced the statues of the saints, and returned to their traditional practices.

This article also reminded of Sri Lanka changing the its colonial name on Government institutions from Ceylon to Sri Lanka. This happened not to long ago. The Island's colonial name (Ceylon) was dropped when they became their own country in 1972. However, the name Ceylon remained on many of the Government institutions (e.g. Bank of Ceylon or Ceylon Fisheries Corporation). However, in 2010 the name was dropped for good.  

James Hobson's curator insight, November 21, 2014 9:55 PM

(East Asia topic 10 [an independent topic])

{And finally a topic outside of China...}

Just as mentioned in a Scoop from a previous topic section, names can be viewed as more than a word which identifies a place. The context of a name can run very deep and be highly contentious. In this case "Sea of Japan" and "East Sea" are contenders for the official name of the body of water between Japan, Korea, and Russia. Sea of Japan is an older term with more of a history, which especially invokes mentioning of the Korean War. East Sea is a post-war term hopes to remove national tension form its name.

   Should officials really 'rename the wheel', or can the original name be accepted just because of its location and historical use? Or perhaps neither of these options, or even a national-level split as is currently the case?

   Personally, I see it as the difference between Aquidneck Island and Rhode Island (the actual island, of course), or even relatable to French fries vs. freedom fries. Physical things don't change just because their names do. In my view, perhaps everybody should just choose whichever they are more familiar with and comfortable using, while taking into consideration and expressing that their reference of a location is not meant to imply any political views.

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Island shown in Google Maps doesn’t actually exist

Island shown in Google Maps doesn’t actually exist | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page | Scoop.it

There’s a South Pacific island positioned midway between Australia and New Caledonia featured on various marine charts, world maps, and has appeared in publications since at least the year 2000. It’s listed as Sandy Island on Google Maps and Google Earth, and yet Australian scientists have just discovered it doesn’t exist.

 

As part of a 25-day voyage, the group went to the area, only to find  a 1,400m (4,620ft) deep section of the Coral Sea. The team collected 197 different rock samples, more than 6800km of marine geophysical data, and mapped over 14,000 square kilometers of the ocean floor.  This is just a reminder that a map is only as reliable as the information used to compile that map. 


Via Seth Dixon, Betsy Smalley
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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 1, 2014 10:36 AM

Typical. How many times do we see information on the internet thats not totally accurate? Although maps such as Google Maps should be accurate enough for people to trust them this wasn't the case. Who knows why there is this random island that doesn't actually exist on the map?

Jason Schneider's curator insight, April 9, 2015 11:15 PM

I'm attempting to look up this island on google maps and I can't seem to find it. This island is known as "Sandy Island" and I even typed that up. Apparently, when they sailed to this "island", they pretty much sailed through it without noticing. Based on the fact that geographers had to map the ocean floor, my guess has something to do with the fact that the tides rise up at night to the point where it covers the whole island at some points.

 
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Cartography And Conflict

Cartography And Conflict | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page | Scoop.it
A newly issued Chinese passport featuring a map that lays claim to disputed territory with several neighboring countries is only the latest case of cartographic aggression.


"Maps, like statistics, can lie — or at least tell only one side of the story. As often as not, they can belie the level of actual governmental control or the ethnic and social realities on the ground. And competing views over 'who owns what' invariably fuel nationalistic fervor."


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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 15, 2013 9:22 PM

Maps can lie, or at least only tell one side of a story. China sparked an international uproar over their new passports that features a map of China. The map includes territories claimed by India, Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Flo Cuadra Scrofft's curator insight, March 24, 2015 1:23 AM

The article points out various cases in which cartography has been used not to show geographical data and the boundaries of different countries, but had rather been used to show political ambitions. Some examples are the map of Guatemala that included Belize as part of it, which dates from a decades-old territorial dispute between the two countries; the recent approved Chinese passport, which includes a map of the country that contains territory claimed by India, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan; and the different maps published by Peru and Chile that included different sea borders, an issue that dates back from more than 100 years.

Reflection- as the article says, "maps, just as statistics, can lie". It is crucial for people not only to know how to interpret maps, but also to be aware of their source and the history behind a map drawn in a different way. I think maps, in order not to be misleading, should show updated information of the boundaries between countries, and should not, by any means, show the territorial desires of a particular country.

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TODALSIGS

TODALSIGS | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page | Scoop.it

TODALSIGS is an acronym for remembering the most basic elements of a good map.  This interactive briefly explains what each of the letters represents and how it is connected to map-making.  If this particular introduction is either too advanced or too basic for your students, simply run an internet search for the term TODALSIGS to find many other lesson plans and resources that might be more applicable to your institution (including this example-rich slideshow).  


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 13, 2013 2:27 PM

TODALSIGS is an acronym for remembering the most basic elements of a good map.  This interactive briefly explains what each of the letters represents and how it is connected to map-making.  If this particular introduction is either too advanced or too basic for your students, simply run an internet search for the term TODALSIGS to find many other lesson plans and resources that might be more applicable to your institution (including this example-rich slideshow).

Wade Lytal's curator insight, September 2, 2015 8:32 AM

Good review of TODALSIGS

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Guerrilla Cartographers Put Global Food Stats On The Map

Guerrilla Cartographers Put Global Food Stats On The Map | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page | Scoop.it
The mapmakers have amassed some 80 maps for Food: An Atlas, ranging from surplus in Northeast Italy to meat production in Maryland. The goal is to spread information about various food systems so they can be adapted locally.


Social media is enhancing digital cooperation to enable some intriguing grass-roots projects such as this one. 


Tags: food, agriculture, mapping.


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OpenStreetMap

A animation showing edits to http://OpenStreetMap.org over the period 2007-2012.

 

OpenStreetMap recently had it's "State of the Map" conference (Oct. 13-14) in Portland, Oregon. This video was embedded in a great article entitled "The New Cartographers" that summarizes some of the current issues discussed at the conference as well as concerns that confont the project.  The project has experienced exponential growth and is a major player in the world of online mapping (think Wikipedia for maps).  

 

Questions to Ponder: What are some advantages (and disadvantages) to an open source mapping data set?  What do you imagine is the future for the world largest open-source mapping data?  

 

Tags: mapping, cartography, geospatial, social media.


Via Seth Dixon, FCHSAPGEO
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Matthieu CLEMENT's comment, October 22, 2012 11:34 AM
excellent !