Propaganda has long been a tool of government and corporations. The use of geography is no exception. Even map projections and emphasizing where places are have been used as a way to influence our ideas. For the last few hundred years, for instance, map projections and maps had often emphasized the Western world (more: Cartographic Anomalies: How Map Projections Have Shaped Our Perceptions of the World). More recently, the Gall-Peters projection, among others, has attempted to rectify this, at least in general textbooks and maps depicting the world. In this case, the correct size of areas, such as along in Africa and the middle latitudes, are shown more correctly. In effect it is a type of equal-area projection.[1]

What is Persuasive Cartography?

Historically, persuasive cartography has attempted to depict a worldview as believed by ruling powers or the image they attempted to project. Some universities and data repositories have now focused on documenting and collecting historical maps that were used for giving subtle messages about specific concerns. Cornell University Library, for instance, has a repository for such maps. They define persuasive cartography as maps that attempt to influence our beliefs. While it can be argued that no map is completely objective, the range of influence and shaping of our opinions that maps give does have a lot of variety and can cover a range of emotions and beliefs.[2]

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