Who said the life of a map maker isn’t interesting?
Every other day it seems there is another disputed territory, which usually means another disputed name.
I’ve already mentioned the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas issue.
On the other side of the planet there is a dispute brewing over the Sea of Japan.
South Korea maintains that the body of water should be known as the East Sea.
Now I’m not going to wade into these murky waters by picking a side.
But if you’re a map maker, you’ve got a tough decision to make, unless you wisely decide to take a more neutral approach.
Here is how Google handles the issue currently:
And this from Bing:
Of the two approaches, Microsoft appears more tactful. I’m not sure Google’s approach is as pleasing to South Koreans.
And there is a takeaway from this issue that every global executive should always keep in mind — maps often convey cultural and geopolitical biases. Use caution when you use maps on websites and in promotional campaigns.