Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Map with a World View

As a kid, and even today, it bugs me that our maps our so Anglo-centric.

Why was it necessary for my Dad to correct me so that I knew that DE on the back of the passing car DE in an abbreviation may not stand for Delaware, but Germany. It should have been intuitive. But no, not growing up with our anglicized version of the globe.

Google continues to be one of the greatest flatteners in the world today. I'm not sure when it happened, but this morning I was when updating a site I maintain and I was ecstatic to discover that Google Maps has been internationalized.
Finally, there will be a generation of Americans who will know that:

  • Deutschland = Germany
  • Osterreich = Austria
  • Polska = Poland
  • Magyarország = Hungary
  • Ελλάζ = Greece
  • Danmark is the correct spelling for Denmark

Ok, maybe we should still anglicize "G R E E C E". Otherwise, I'll be forced to call it the state formerly known as Greece. But if a nation uses our alphabet, there is no need to anglicize the spelling of their country. It's conceited, and it carries over into all manner of ethnocentrisms from the cliché ugly American tourist to the go it alone attitude that worked so well the last six years (sarcasm).

Google continues to be the most democratizing force in the world today.


Alicia said...

I'm still trying to figure out my map of Idaho.