Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Beyond the Periphery: child and Adult Understanding of World Map Continuity
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3942-0427
2015 (English)In: Annals of the Association of American Geographers, ISSN 0004-5608, E-ISSN 1467-8306, Vol. 105, no 4, 773-790 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is well established that map projections make it difficult for a map reader to correctly interpret angles, distances, and areas from a world map. A single map projection cannot ensure that all of the intuitive features of Euclidean geometry, such as angles, relative distances, and relative areas, are the same on the map and in reality. This article adds an additional difficulty by demonstrating a clear pattern of naïveté regarding the site at which a route that crosses the edge of a world map reappears. The argument is that this naïve understanding of the peripheral continuation is linear, meaning that the proposed continuation is along the straight line that continues tangentially to the original route when it crosses the edge. In general, this understanding leads to an incorrect interpretation concerning the continuation of world maps. It is only in special cases—such as radial routes on a planar projection and peripherally latitudinal routes on a cylindrical or pseudocylindrical projection with a normal aspect—that the actual peripheral continuation of the world map is linear. The data used in this article are based on questionnaires administered to 670 children aged nine to fifteen and eighty-two adults. This naïve understanding of the peripheral continuation, which leads to errors, was found to be entirely dominant among the children, regardless of the projection, and was clearly observed among the adults when the projection was cylindrical with a normal aspect.

Abstract [zh]


Abstract [es]

Es una hecho claramente establecido que las proyecciones cartográficas dificultan a los lectores de mapas interpretar correctamente ángulos, distancias y áreas en un mapa del mundo. No existe una sola proyección de la que se pueda asegurar que todos los rasgos intuitivos de la geometría euclidiana, tales como ángulos, distancias relativas y áreas relativas sean las mismas en el mapa y en la realidad. Este artículo agrega una dificultad adicional al demostrar un patrón claro de ingenuidad en relación con el sitio en el que reaparece una ruta que cruza el borde de un mapa del mundo. El argumento es que esta comprensión ingenua de la continuidad periférica es lineal, dando a entender que la continuación propuesta se hace a lo largo de una línea recta que continúa tangencialmente a la ruta original cuando se cruza el borde. En general, este modo de pensar lleva a una interpretación incorrecta en lo que concierne a los mapas del mundo. Solamente en casos especiales—tales como los de rutas radiales sobre una proyección planar y en rutas periféricamente latitudinales sobre proyecciones cilíndricas o pseudocilíndricas de aspecto normal—ocurre que la continuación periférica real del mapa del mundo sea lineal. Los datos usados en este artículo están basados en cuestionarios administrados a 670 niños con edades entre nueve y quince años, y a ochenta y dos adultos. Este ingenuo entendimiento de la continuidad periférica, que conduce a errores, es dominante totalmente entre los niños, con cualquier proyección usada, y se observó claramente entre los adultos cuando la proyección utilizada fue una cilíndrica de aspecto normal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 105, no 4, 773-790 p.
Keyword [en]
cartography, map projections, peripheral continuity, world maps
Keyword [zh]
Keyword [es]
cartografía, proyecciones cartográficas, continuidad periférica, mapas del mundo
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Geography with Emphasis on Human Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119038DOI: 10.1080/00045608.2015.1022091ISI: 000359478600009OAI: diva2:843081
Available from: 2015-07-25 Created: 2015-07-25 Last updated: 2015-09-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Education through Maps: The Challenges of Knowing and Understanding the World
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Education through Maps: The Challenges of Knowing and Understanding the World
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall purpose of this thesis is to study, in relation to geography education and with a historical perspective, the challenges of knowing and understanding the world. The cases are all from Sweden. In the first paper, educational ideas in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are studied, and the results indicate that some of the previously criticised educational ideas that were perceived as resulting from the ideas of nineteenth century regional geography in fact can be observed in earlier centuries and were criticised during the nineteenth century. In the second paper, school children’s ability to locate geographical names on outline maps is compared with children’s ability to complete the same task 45 years earlier. A total of 1,124 students were included in the latter study, and the results were compared with those from a study of 1,200 students from the same town conducted in 1968. The results raise questions regarding the picture of the continuous decline in children’s school results and show, for example, that children today are better at locating continents on a world map. The final paper identifies a new aspect of map reading difficulties. These difficulties in map reading are increasingly important in our global society, i.e., how the edges of the world map cohere. The paper shows that many map readers, children and adults, respond according to the idea of linear peripheral continuity, which indicates that the proposed continuation is along the straight line that continues tangentially to the original route when it crosses the edge. In general, this understanding leads to incorrect interpretations of the continuation of world maps.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, 2015. 46 p.
Meddelanden från Kulturgeografiska institutionen vid Stockholms universitet, ISSN 0585-3508 ; 149
cartography, geography education, map projections, maps, place location knowledge, world maps, Sweden, kartografi, geografiundervisning, kartor, kartprojektioner, namngeografi, världskartor, Sverige
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Geography with Emphasis on Human Geography
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119809 (URN)978-91-7649-215-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-23, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Accepted.

Available from: 2015-10-01 Created: 2015-08-25 Last updated: 2015-09-29Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Hennerdal, Pontus
By organisation
Department of Human Geography
In the same journal
Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Human Geography

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 54 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link