is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Vice President of User Experience at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
One of the first “grown-up” things I remember learning as a teenager is that maps are never unbiased, that they always represent the predilections of their cartographers—or their cartographers’ sponsors. You can’t create a flat map without distorting proportions and thereby misrepresenting the relative sizes of continents and countries, for instance, and even globes imply an “up” and “down” that is more a reflection of politics than physics. This clip from “The West Wing”—which is typically didactic but nevertheless amusing—runs through some of the inherent problems in the Mercator projection map that we’re all familiar with.
All of which, aside from making me sound smart, is meant as a setup for Judgmental Maps a collection of crowdsourced charts of American cities that have been marked up with frank labeling as to who lives where and what can be found there. Many readers of this blog will be especially interested in the entries for New York City and San Francisco:
I found the interpretation of Baltimore pretty hilarious, too, especially the way it reflects how most white collar people living outside that city have come to think about what can be found there:
More at Judgmentalmaps.com.+