24 October, 2014

Map Update: Kosovo Now Recognized by Every Country in Oceania (107/193 UN members)

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Map of countries that recognize the Republic of Kosovo as an independent state, updated for October 2014, with the most recent addition (Solomon Islands) and disputed recognitions highlighted
Countries recognizing the Republic of Kosovo in green, highlighting recent additions. Disputed recognitions in yellow. Kosovo in magenta. Map by Evan Centanni, modified from public domain graphic (source).

14 October, 2014

Map: "Eurasian Union" Gets New Member

Map of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), also known as the Eurasian Union. Includes new member Armenia, as well as prior members Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, and disputed territories Crimea and Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Eurasian Economic Union's four member countries, plus disputed territories that might be officially or unofficially included. Map by Evan Centanni, starting from this map by Keverich2. License: CC BY-SA
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07 October, 2014

Syria Civil War Map: October 2014 (#15) (Premium)

(To see other maps in this series, view all Syria updates.)

Detailed map of territorial control in Syria's Civil War (Free Syrian Army and Nusra Front rebels, Kurdish groups, ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State and others), updated to October 2014 for siege of Kobani (Ayn al-Arab) and other developments.

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Our territorial control map of the Syrian Civil War has been updated for October, showing changes to the situation since the previous Syria map report in September. The map and accompanying timeline show the Islamic State's advance against Kurdish-held Kobani, as well as other developments from the past few weeks.

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  • Up-to-date map of current territorial control in Syria, color-coded for the Assad government, rebel groups, Islamic State (ISIS) extremists, and Kurdish self-protection forces
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  • Recent areas of fighting, including Kobani (Ayn al-Arab), Deir al-Adas, and others
  • Timeline of events since mid-September, with focus on changes to territorial control



29 September, 2014

War in Nigeria: Map of Boko Haram Control (September 2014)

Detailed map of Boko Haram territorial control in its war with Nigeria, marking and labeling each town reportedly under the group's control in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states. Includes Damboa, Buni Yadi, Madagali, Gwoza, Gujba, Gulak, Bama, Gulani, Shuwa, Marte, Kukawa, Michika, Dikwa, Bularafa, Bazza, Gambaru Ngala, Buni Gari, Banki, Bara, Pulka, Bumsa, Ashgashiya, Limankara, Njibulwa and more.
Map by Evan Centanni. All rights reserved.
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Conflict tracking by T.H., with additional reporting by Evan Centanni

Boko Haram vs. Nigeria
Though it's waged a bloody war against the Nigerian government for many years, rebel group Boko Haram rarely could claim significant territorial control until recently. Though they did take over a number of remote areas in spring of last year (see our 2013 Boko Haram control map), the militants were soon driven back into hiding by the Nigerian military.

The insurgency never went away, with Boko Haram's bombings and other attacks, often on schools and other public places, increasing in number and lethality from 2013 into early 2014. (Also see our 2013 report for more background on Boko Haram).

20 September, 2014

Maps of How Scotland's Regions Really Voted

Good geographers know that maps can lie to you. Every map emphasizes some aspects of a place at the expense of others, giving it a lot of power to lead careless readers astray. Maps of Scotland's recent independence referendum are misleading us about the reality, even if not intentionally.

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Map of results in Scotland's September 18, 2014 independence referendum. Voters were polled on whether or not to separate from the UK. Map shows relative proportion of yes and no votes for each of Scotland's council areas, using a gradient rather than contrasting colors for small differences.
Map by Evan Centanni, based on blank map by TUBS and NordNordWest (CC BY-SA)
By Evan Centanni

Misleading Maps
By now you've probably heard the results of Scotland's independence referendum: voters chose "no" by a solid margin of 55% to 45%. Check out our previous article to learn more about what would have happened if Scotland had voted "yes".

Maps like this one from the BBC and this one from Wikipedia have popped up since the results came out, showing how each of Scotland's council areas voted. Most of the country is in red for "no", with a few "yes" areas in green.

But if one area went 51% for "yes", and another 51% for "no", those two areas actually voted almost identically - yet contrasting red/green maps make us feel like they're polar opposites (not to mention that one-in-thirty readers has trouble seeing the difference between red and green).

How the Councils Really Voted
Whether each area's people voted just over or just under 50% in favor isn't actually that important. What matters is how far the balance was tipped in each region. This is not the U.S. presidential election, where the final vote is actually made by delegates obligated to go by the majority in each state. All the votes across Scotland were pooled together to determine the result, so which side of the 50-yard line each area came out on has no effect .