March 5th 2012 marked the 500th birthday of map-maker Gerhard Kremer, aka Mercator. There are many wishing the Flemish map maker well! From blogs to books the man who has shaped for many our world view is celebrated as often as vilified.
Four centuries later, Arno Peters created what many see as a fair view of our world, but others see as a distorted or misleading map! Across the centuries it is maps that link these men and their impact on current human activity.
This landmark book - How Maps Change Things: A Conversation About the Maps We Choose and the World We Want - looks at maps by these two men and others. This examination goes beyond maps as nouns, as tactile objects that show locations and distances.
"Maps are verbs ... don't be fooled" we are told at the outset of How Maps Change Things.
The book examines maps as change agents, reflecting intentions and setting agendas, stating who has what, and who has not. What are the messages sent by maps? What were Mercator, Peters and other mapmakers setting out to do with each of their creations?
Ward Kaiser, author, publisher, pastor, and historian was instrumental in bringing the Peters Equal Area Map to North America. He has been leading the discussion of what maps mean and the power of maps in framing human activities.
Listen to Ward Kaiser interviewed by Liam Cochrane for Radio Australia.
NOTE: This is a download for eBook readers (industry standard ePub format). It is NOT a printed book. It is suitable for reading on computers, mobile devices, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Kindle. If you don't have an eBook reader for your computer, the Adobe Digital Editions reader works well and is available for free download at www.adobe.com For iPhones, iPad and iPod Touch we recommend the Apple iBooks App.
In How Maps Change Things
Kaiser takes a passionate view of how maps illustrate and influence the significant paths humans pursue. Rather than looking for definitive answers, Kaiser focuses on asking thought-provoking questions. "What does our world, through the view of maps, really look like and what does the perspective (or frame of reference or bias) of the viewer mean to the map and its view? Are all maps simply propaganda for the hidden agenda of the map-maker? What is the world we get and what is the world we want ... and who cares and why?"
Kaiser has stimulated an impressive and important conversation.Prefer a printed book?
If you'd prefer a printed copy of the book rather than the eBook download, you can order a paperback version
through our partners in the US, ODT Maps.What people are saying about How Maps Change Things
A tour de force, from the mapping of Iraq as a set of oil wells, through Mercator's love of Germany, first nation Canadians' and current Palestinians' land rights, ... to calls for an end to borders, bigotry, disease and war. This is not just a book about maps, although it's full of maps - it's about a worldview. Dr. Danny Dorling
Professor of Human Geography, University of Sheffield
and author of The No-Nonsense Guide to Equality
Very thought provoking, easily-understood by non-geographers, and timely. Bravo!! Dr. Joseph J. Kerski
Education Manager, Esri, Broomfield CO
and current president of the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE).
The time has come for our nation's educators to provide strong geography curriculums and How Maps Change Things by Ward L. Kaiser seems to be one of the first excellent resources. The book has the potential to benefit college and university teacher education programs, as well as middle and high schools across the USA. This ebook is clearly written with thought provoking illustrations. ... How Maps Change Things would actually be fun to teach in a 6th or 9th grade social studies, a high school economics, a teacher education methods course and a multicultural literacy course. It is a versatile text that has a readability level for easy comprehension and retention. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in our world and our place in it. Dr. Patricia Ruggiano Schmidt
Le Moyne College Literacy Professor Emerita
At last!! Somebody has put into print what we've heard 'snipets' and 'rumors' of before - "that the map we tend to use isn't the way things look!" But the author does it, not only with insight - he helps us everyday folks understand it ourselves! ... written in everyday, down-to-earth language that nearly all of us can understand and explain it to others! Anyone who takes the time to read this book - or even parts of it - can suddenly sound like a genius... an expert... on distinguishing maps and both, how they are to be used and how they shouldn't be used. Gerald Robison
An exciting book! I appreciate the strong awareness of social issues throughout it. Kaiser's telling the story of the Peters Map, and making the case for social justice via equal area maps is well done. The wide use of various map projections and map examples is effective in carrying the case forward. The Rev. Arthur Bauer
advocate for equal area maps
This fascinating book from Ward Kaiser challenges our perception of World mapping, and is a timely commentary in a period in our history when location-based information is increasing day by day. With a well-constructed and informative text, peppered with interesting anecdotes and illustrations, this is a book for everyone interested in mapping, from the amateur map devotee to the professional cartographer. Penny Watson
A wonderful distillation of your many years' thought about maps and everything that revolves round them. The writing is well honed and makes the book very readable ... deserving of a wide circulation. Terry Hardaker
former chief cartographer, Oxford Cartographers
I especially liked your discussion of the Mercator Projection. All too often proponents of the Peter's projection present the Mercator concept as nothing more than a Northern Capitalist plot to promote their own agenda....whereas as you point out, it serves a very useful purpose (in fact vital for early mariners). The distortions are unfortunate and most of us have been misinformed by the spacial distortions, but if I were out at sea trying to find my way home, I certainly wouldn't want a Peters projection. Tom Wilson
Geography Teacher at Waldorf High Schools in Viroqua, WI and Prien, Germany.
How Maps Change Things is a critical resource for people to understand the power of maps to influence how we look at each other across the table and across the globe. For those of us trying to make the world a better place, this book is a critical tool for understanding how we all look at it now and how we all want it to look in the future. Craig Wiesner
Progressive activist and co-founder of ReachAndTeach.com
ABSOLUTELY outstanding! It is SO easy to understand, precise, straight, fascinating. Further, such an awesome easy to use, lively resource for use in education - with the questions at the end of the chapters! What an amazing dazzling kaleidoscope of map knowledge... ripe and fascinating for ALL audiences across languages, cultures, ages, professions because it includes powerful content and easy to read, illustrated, kicking examples. The personal tone is engaging, while while being in balance on different cultural approaches... and it is sooo elegantly tuned. I am going to add this to our teaching tool resources. Eric Schneider
Youth Leader Magazine, UNESCO status, Germany, www.youth-leader
This book, as fascinating as it is informative and important, is for beginners as well as those who already have an interest in and understanding of the advantages and limitations of maps. Here is an excellent opportunity to gain genuine insight into the processes and the results of mapping.. Ed Peck
former US Ambassador to Iraq
Those who practice media literacy know that media are not just maps of the world, but prescribe how to act in the world. How wonderful, then, that Ward L. Kaiser's How Maps Change Things, shows these principles in action. With ample case studies and sober explanation, this book will not only change how you view maps, but how you see the world. Antonio Lopez
The Media Ecosystem, http://www.worldbridgermedia.com
For a new class or training program to improve intercultural competence How Maps Change Things could be the basis of one terrific learning journey! I highlighted something on nearly every one of its 188 pages. I learned so much, on so many different yet related topics, that I now have five or six threads of learning and discovery I want to pursue! Kaiser shows us how maps can be used to promote perspective shifting, equity, and social justice. Dianne Hofner Saphiere
intercultural organizational effectiveness consultant and and host of the Cultural Detective Blog. Read her full review at
ISBN / Barcode: 9781876998080