01 December 2012

"Reversed" map of the world


An anonymous reader mentioned in a comment that he/she had seen a map of the world in which the oceans were depicted as land masses, and vice-versa.  The closest I could find to such a map with a quick web search was the one above (available commercially as a poster), via Big Think and 42 Concepts.

This one doesn't quite "work" for me because my mind still sees a conventional map (it worked a little better when I inverted it).  I would prefer for the artists to have extended the "reverse" effect by depicting the mid-Atlantic ridge as canyons and the Marianas Trench as a towering mountain.  And to have rendered the "oceans" in blue.

Still, it's a nice diversion to view such a map and wonder in a reversed world where I would like to live, which areas would be strategically important, how history might have evolved differently, and so on.

Addendum:  Reader Heather found the map I wanted to see, credited to mygrapefruit at DeviantArt, via P as in Pterodactyl:


Nicely done. (I think I would like to live in the "lakes" district around Indonesia or Papua New Guinea...)

10 comments:

  1. "Reversed map of the world," or as fish call it, "Map of the world."

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  2. This is the image that I've seen recently: http://pamstucky.com/blog/?p=2080

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  3. As a game developer, this makes me want to develop a map for Civilization V based on that idea.

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  4. Heather's link is the closest to the original artwork of the low-relief/reversed map I remember from years ago. It hung in a bar/restaurant in Montreal's Plateau Mile-End (coin St-Laurent et Marie-Anne) called "Les Bobards". They had copper washtubs scattered around the place which were full of salted peanuts. We'd eat 'em by the handful, tossing the shells on the floor & making ourselves even thirstier. Good times!

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    1. Sounds like fun. Your description reminds me of a country western bar in urban Dallas with peanut shells on the floor and Texas hill country music from the stage. Great, if foggy, memories.

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  5. Minnesota would become the "Land of 10,000 Islands" (or maybe the sea?)

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  6. This is a fascinating reimagining of Earth's geography.

    It's wonderful to speculate on how differently our planet would have developed if this had been the case. There are very few isolated landmasses so less species diversity on land but
    note the great mountain ranges in the middle that would play a great part in keeping animals and humans apart.

    The Great Eurasian Ocean is completely separated from the North and South American oceans, which must give rise to very different ocean ecologies — perhaps whales in one ocean and giant dugongs in the other. Note that certain landmasses only become accessible in summer, which must result in great migrations, not to mention interesting political/economic consequences.

    The climate would be very different too since there is no globally circulating water to transport heat around. I wonder what that would mean in terms of desertification. Would the reduced surface water cause more deserts than we have in reality or would reduced evaporation at the equator diminish the effects of the Hadley cells that generate the deserts just below the tropics (I suspect the former would be more dominant).

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    1. Reminds me of the work that writers like Frank Herbert (the Dune books) and Ray Bradbury (esp. the Martian Chronicles) have done to create compelling, completely believable worlds.

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    2. For creating an alternate world, I really prefer taking one (or more) of the islands in the Canadian Arctic Island Group and using that as the basis for one of my continents, increasing it greatly. (A continent by former geographer standard is a continuous area of land at least 1 million square miles in area. I don't know what the current standard is.)

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  7. It looks to me like the "Red Sea" island would be of tremendous strategic importance in this world. It would be a natural connection from the Asian to African Sea. I'd like to live there, maybe.

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