Every map is infused with its maker’s decisions, which ultimately present a pattern, story or argument. Sometimes those choices of design, labeling, data selection, and data slicing show up as obvious biases, as in the case of Donald Trump’s infamously augmented 2019 map of Hurricane Dorian. More often, though, this inherent “truthiness” flies under the radar of a map’s tidy, matter-of-fact visual presentation, as in the many maps and models being made now of semi-reliable Covid-19 case data.
So while it’s relatively easy to make a map in an age of abundant data and digital tools, it isn’t always easy to read them. How can you tell what’s real, and what’s a distortion?
Link to the museum exhibit referred to in the article linked below