You Say Falkland Islands. I Say Islas Malvinas.

Remember the Falklands War?

I do and, yes, this does make me feel a little old.

For those of you who don’t remember, the war was fought over a group of small islands far off the Patagonian coast of Argentina.

The British won the war but the Argentines are still very attached to the islands.

So what we have here is a disputed territory, always a challenge for mapmakers.

Here’s a screen grab from Google Maps. Notice how “Islas Malvinas” is in parentheses.

As a test, I switched my language preference on Google Maps to Spanish thinking maybe I’d see Falkland Islands placed within the parenthes. But no.

However, Bing does localize the map based on language. When I switched Bing Maps to Spanish, here’s what I saw:

This is map localization at work.

I hope to one day visit these islands — and I hope they can survive the next looming (environmental) conflict. The Falklands would not be in the news today if not for great quantities of oil buried deep below the ocean floor. Make no mistake, oil is at the center of this current  dispute, not the natural wildlife, which neither government seems too terribly concerned about.

If it were up to me — and if only it were — I would hand over the islands to the one government that promised to leave the islands free of oil derricks.  The Falklands are of enormous importance to penguins, albatross, and many other creatures that are running out of safe places to nest.

PS: Here’s a recent article in the NYT about the islands.

 

Think outside .com: A map of the world’s IDNs

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you know I’m a fan of internationalized domain names (IDNs).

Over the past year or so, ICANN has approved more than 20 IDNs across a range of countries, scripts and languages. I’ve posted a running list here.

Today I’m happy to announce a new map that displays all current IDNs along with their ccTLD counterparts.

The map will be printed on demand. If you’re interested in a copy, you can order here.

The next Internet revolution will not be in English

This visual depicts about half of the currently approved internationalized domain names (IDNs), positioned over their respective regions.

Notice the wide range of scripts over India and the wide range of Arabic domains. I left off the Latin country code equivalents (in, cn, th, sa, etc.) to illustrate what the Internet is going to look like (at a very high level) in the years ahead.

This next revolution is a linguistically local revolution. In terms of local content, it is already happening. Right now, more than half of the content on the Internet is not in English. Ten years from now, the percentage of English content could easily drop below 25%.

But there are a few technical obstacles that have so far made the Internet not as user friendly as it should be for people in the regions highlighted above. They’ve been forced to enter Latin-based URLs to get to where they want to go. Their email addresses are also Latin-based. This will all change over the next two decades.

For those of us who are fluent only in Latin-based languages, this next wave of growth is going to be interesting, if not a bit challenging. In a Latin-based URL environment, you can still easily navigate to and around non-Latin web sites and brands. For example, if I want to find Baidu in China, I can enter www.baidu.cn. For Yandex in Russia, it’s yandex.ru.

But flash forward a few years and these Latin URLs (though they’ll still exist) may no longer function as the front doors into these markets.

Try Яндекс.рф. It currently redirects to Yandex.ru.

In a few years, I doubt this redirection will exist.

We’re getting close to a linguistically local Internet — from URL to email address. There are still significant technical obstacles to overcome. It will be exciting to see which companies take the lead in overcoming them — as these companies will be well positioned to be leaders in these emerging markets.

UPDATE: I’ve expanded on this topic in a recent article on IP Watch.

Country Codes of the European Union

eu_shadow_400

I’m pleased to announce a new country codes map, this one devoted to the 27 members of the European Union.

The ccTLDs are sized according to population and to the side is a list of the top 17 ccTLDs by number of registrations.

Germany leads the list of course. I also included .EU, which now has more than 3 million registrations.

Since there are fewer countries to include, this map is smaller than the Country Codes of the World map.

We printed a small quantity because we’re not sure how many folks would want one, but if you, shipping is free for the next month.

Link

Strange Maps: The Book

If you like maps and you haven’t yet discovered the Strange Map blog, I recommend checking it out.

It’s oddly addictive.

Now there’s a print version — Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities.

strange_maps

Included within the book is our very own Country Codes of the World map.

I received a copy this week and plan to dive in this weekend. It’s a big book — with more than a hundred maps. One map that jumped out at me was of the Kentucky Bend — a bulbous little chunk of land carved by the Mississippi river and the New Madrid earthquake.