Antarctica: Who are your owners?

Antarctica has been always known for its vast and icy terrain. Though inhabitable, the race for its territorial power has always been an issue. As a huge mass of land, issues of sovereignty and security over each countries parameters has always been a pressing topic for all.

The map above was created by Frank Jacobs, a cartographer and map critique , it wants to present which countries are involved in the partitioning and illustrates the division of territories among the nation-states. The type of map demonstrates the creativity of the cartographer to merge a geographer’s tool to a pie chart. Interestingly it has given way to the idea that the whole can be better understood through parts instead of just locating the actual points and boundaries of the territories. The cartographer has used different shades and hues in order to present it at a nominal level of data.


Primarily, the motive of the cartographer to present his concept of reality has effectively absorbed the audience.  It has also easily understandable by any person without additional information about the topic. It presents an effective strategy in transmitting his message at the risk of being simple and minimalist.

The colors have been distinct with each country. Though, the writer suggests that the cartographer should have used a similar color to depict similar countries like the USA. This form of style can be a bit confusing to other readers especially if supplementary data is not given. Labels on the other hand are arranged in a simple manner. But some countries were abbreviated in order to preserve the organization and avoid cluttering.

Let us remember the point in making maps. It is for expressing a message to an audience in order for them to learn. Creating maps should not be all about aesthetics, though a part of it, but we should also consider if our message is being absorbed by the reader. Sometimes simplicity can be a key in order to clearly send our voice through maps.


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