Revisiting what centralized control of our maps looks like


This is a thread to share historic proof of authorities or private interests manipulating location information to skew mass opinion.

Map manipulation could have malicious intent or stem from crude humor, but always a symptom of centralized control over the public’s understanding of what is where.

Although every map thus far straddles someplace in between objective and subjective, I’m curious to learn what sort of subjectivity has become now popularly condemnable.


To kick this off, here are a few examples from Britain’s imperialist days and American political maps from the late 1800’s.

Every time I see examples like this, I wonder what sort of commonplace map manipulation I may be overlooking today lol.


Great idea for a thread! Reminds me of this research I came across:



Throwing it back, in 1886 the British Empire created this map to celebrate their conquests and show the success of the state.

Britain’s self-glorifying aside, some part of me wishes we still had basemaps with this level of artistry.


This’ll be a fun one: Contentious territory disputes!


Territorial disputes have already occurred on the FOAM Map

also interesting article that is relevant


Yup, seems like community consensus that some places will remain in flux on foam.

Cool point on paper maps. That last part in the article about celestial navigation is dope tho – I’d like to learn that.

It’s especially relevant in context with aviation – myself and greater pilot community definitely value paper charts as #1 to digital as #2.



Can’t forget this map vandalism last year pushed to snapchat and other mapbox clients.

I know some folks at mapbox being pretty embarrassed about this since it was “in the manual part of the review process a human error led to this incident.”


Some rare historic maps at the NYC library including the first known map credited to a woman in the 17th century.

Interestingly, the map creator drew an imaginary land mass in the south pole region based (before Antarctica was discovered!) off an assumption that there should be land in the south to balance the earth’s land in the north.


One cartographer has added several POIs about “secret locations” throughout the city. These points tell a story of Bologna’s geographical history that probably can’t be found in guide books - from landmarks of the middle-age cannabis trade, to the birthplace of a radio technology pioneer and nobel laureate.


This is really cool – I’m already a fan. I wonder whether usefulness of these “historic secret location” POIs are better suited for a map app on top of foam – which provides functionality and base map. A dedicated map of secret locations may be easier to gamify and test across cities in the future.

Bologna on the FOAM Map

was she signaling for someone to find land?