Planet Earth is a confusing place for everyone. As citizens of the United States, it can be difficult enough for school-age children to remember the 50 states and their capitals, let alone recall each of the more than 200 officially recognized nations on the planet. Thankfully, the world has maps of all types to help people gain perspective about the planet on which they live. Aside from the standard maps found in textbooks, there are a number of interesting maps available that help people visualize the world in a different way. The following are some of the most interesting maps out there, with each one presenting the world in a different light.
In high school, most children are introduced to Earth’s history of continental drift. In short, it covers the long, slow drift of the continents into their current position as they ride the massive liquid core of the planet. Today’s nations are spread out around the globe, but were once smashed together into one giant supercontinent known as Pangea.
An interesting take on the supercontinent is available on a wall map that not only shows the formation and location of Pangea, but includes the current international boundaries of the world’s nations. This allows anyone to see where their home nation fit into the massive puzzle that was Pangea.
Flag Map of the World
As mentioned earlier, it is difficult enough for students to memorize state and national capitals in the US and around the globe without having to remember all of the national flags of each country. A simple, yet brilliant, map concept is the Flag Map of the World. In this map, each nation is shaded in with the design of its official flag. This allows students to easily identify and recall national flags by associating a country by location and sight with its flag.
Familiarizing yourself with the vegetation and natural environment of nations from across the globe is a great way of understanding the social and political strife that often grips various regions of the world. The existence, or lack thereof, of suitable vegetation to support human society differs on the planet. A standard world map that consists of deep shades of green fading to shades of brown helps identify where on Earth there is dense vegetation (both grasslands, prairies, and forests) and where barren deserts exist.
Global Water Risk
Similar to the vegetation map, a global water risk map uses a color system ranging from low risk (light yellow) to high risk (deep red) to identify the regions of the world where the amount of water present is not suitable to adequately sustain civilization. In combination with the vegetation map, the global water risk map offers an interesting offset as most of the high-vegetation regions have low water risks, while the low-vegetation regions are high-risk zones.
Our World, In Reverse
Every map you’ve ever looked at has the nations of the world arranged with north on top and south on the bottom. What if your view of the world was literally turned upside down? Imagine the southern tip of South America pointing upward on the map instead, or Antarctica sprawled out across the top of your map rather than the bottom. This map creates a unique view of the world never presented.
The world is an amazing place, and maps exist to help people make sense of the planet on which they live. These are just a few examples of maps that can help you view the world in a different, sometimes unique, way.