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  • Writer's pictureArpit Shah

Douse your Mapping 'Curiosity'

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

Curiosity, as the name suggests, is a mobile application where one can read fantastic educational content on interesting topics to satiate one's inquisitiveness. The app's homepage features five-seven new articles on a daily basis and which refreshes every midnight. It has become my routine to read the articles posted on this app before I go to sleep.


Curiosity occasionally features articles on mapping too. Here are FIVE interesting ones.

 

2023 Update: Realized that Curiosity application is no longer operational and hence, the hyperlinks below wouldn't work. As a result, I've replaced the links with similar, publicly available information.

 

Yes, you've read it right! To rephrase it better, I'd say that 'a completely world map hasn't been created till date'. Each map is a trade-off between geographic features (like most decisions are) to suit the purpose for which the map has been created for. Read the article to know why as well as read this to know why the rectangular-shaped AuthaGraph World Map is, strangely, the most accurate world map created so far.


This is the like the mapping version of trick questions in surveys; an ingenuous technique to know whether a user submission is authentic or not. You'll also be surprised to know that the creator of Google Map Maker (It used to be a globally popular, collaborative Map editing tool) was an Indian (who also launched Google Maps in India). Read more about his story here.


The solution to this mystery left me very surprised. Incredible to believe, yet true. In a coloured-map, you'd have observed a necessary symbology rule: two adjacent regions are always colored differently - for demarcation, easy identification purposes. So, in your opinion, what is the minimum number of colours that would be required to make any world map? Tally your answer with the finding as mentioned in the article, of course!


Front is for sweetness, Back is for bitter, remember? I actually used to suck various flavours of candies accordingly! This article will change that long-held belief.


The logic behind the finding is applicable to other scenarios as well; for example, why we must always take research findings published in newspapers with a pinch of salt - because research is based on assumptions, degrees of confidence and sample sizes. They indicate a finding applicable within those test parameters and are not necessarily, an accurate indicator of real-life outcomes.


Similarly, not until last year did I manage to know that the map of India which we see, is not an accurate depiction of reality: The area that India actually governs is lesser than what we visualize. This holds particularly true for the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state, which is nowhere close to 'crown shaped' as many of us perceive it to be. This difference is because we visualize disputed regions (such as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir & Aksai Chin) as our own in our country maps even if we do not have an iota of governance there - Pakistan and China actually control these territories.


While the article will give you an overview of what was mapped out, this webpage will help you understand what was being done, in an instant! No wonder, a picture speaks louder than a thousand words. (And, GIS - Geographic Information System speaks way louder than all the documented, spreadsheet based reports you have been reading so far).

 

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Regards,

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