A New Look at an Old Place Wins Prestigious Japanese Award


Hajime Narukawa has won the Good Design Award for a making a map. It might seem trite to some of you but a map has the power to change the way we think about the world. Sadly the most popular map printed today uses the Mercator projection which was originally designed for mariners (and worked really well!). The problem is that the Mercator projection has a multitude of flaws which greatly distorts reality; for example, Alaska appears to be larger than Brazil despite the fact the opposite is true. This representation of the globe distorts our thinking about it.

With that context in mind, the fact that a map won the Good Design Award must imply that it does something quite different. The map is known as an AuthaGraph projection and it does something that most maps can’t do.

Narukawa developed a map projection method called AuthaGraph (and founded a company of the same name in 2009) which aims to create maps that represent all land masses and seas as accurately as possible. Narukawa points out that in the past, his map probably wasn’t as relevant. A large bulk of the 20th century was dominated by an emphasis on East and West relations. But with issues like climate change, melting glaciers in Greenland and territorial sea claims, it’s time we establish a new view of the world: one that equally perceives all interests of our planet.

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