But . . . wait. Where else could you put the Northern Hemisphere but on the top?

On the bottom.

Yeah, but you can’t do that.

Why not?

‘Cause it’s freaking me out.

I was watching some old West Wings episodes last week and ran across a clip that a map nut like me just has to love!

The press secretary is sitting through a briefing by the fictional “Organization of Cartographers for Social Equality” that argues that the President needs to support

legislation that would make it mandatory for every public school in America to teach geography using the Peters Projection map instead of the traditional Mercator.

The OCSE also pushes for the South-Up Map. And while the clip is a bit tongue in cheek, I think it does a great job of introducing the idea that maps can and do distort reality. I’ve talked about this before a bit and still believe that a really great map can have a huge impact on students.

You might also be interested in a short chapter from “Seeing Through Maps: The Power of Images to Shape Our World View” by Ward L. Kaiser and Denis Wood that describes how maps can manipulate perceptions.

If nothing else, the reaction of the press secretary’s face during the video clip is definitely worth a look!

[wpvideo bD7qxjfV]