THAT Dangerous?


What is it with North Korea that ticks the Superpowers off? This map screams imminent danger, since the symbols used are familiar to us as such. If you’ve watched too many James Bond movies, you can spot them from a mile away. This conforms to the theme of radioactive and nuclear facilities found in North Korea.  Taken from a press article in May 2009, the overall impact of this map form The Guardian should have been more forceful, and less washed-out.

The map maker  illustrated North Korea’s proximity to other Asian countries like China, Russia and South Korea. The map has an inset on the upper left corner which for me, will be initially overlooked. The choice of scale catered to the map maker’s choice of symbology. The icons are all round and detailed with similar colors, therefore they cannot be minimized. The symbols most probably coalesced, but they cannot be simply aligned properly without compromising the accuracy of the corresponding locations of the nuclear facilities. Speaking of locations, one cannot be sure of their accuracy because data gathering is hard enough as it is. North Koreans have a very tight security. But with today’s modern remote sensing technology, almost any place in the world can be mapped.

While I do concur that the icons took center stage and gave the instantaneous impression that the objects pointed out are  hazardous or toxic, using a white backdrop for the map did not work to its aesthetic advantage. But then again, there’s nothing pretty about a plausible holocaust. Even so, the boundaries of North Korea were not clearly delineated. Looking closely, the land area of North Korea was represented topographically by hill shading in monochromatic grey bordering on white. It might have been done to compensate for the lack of geographic boundaries and labels of political divisions within the country. But it seemed as if North Korea became one with the ocean, especially when looking at it from a bright screen.The fonts used for the labels were not uniform but simple enough to be very legible.

Coming from a news article and with the purpose to intimidate, the map may have had too little and too much at the same time, but if they only intended to let the public know how many nuclear facilities North Korea had under wraps that can go “Bazingah!” anytime, then it definitely achieved its intention. It’s that dangerous.

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