Magazine article USA TODAY

The World Is Your Oyster

Magazine article USA TODAY

The World Is Your Oyster

Article excerpt

Since I'm certainly no George Bailey nor worldwide traveler (or cross-country one, for that matter), it always seemed odd ... but while most kids dreamt of becoming a baseball star or playing in a rock band, I had something else in mind: my very own office with one indispensable piece of decor, a wall map of the world. Mission accomplished, thanks to Raven Maps & Images, Medford, Ore.

The One World Map laminated poster is a striking example of cartographic art dealing with two of the fundamental difficulties that any global map must resolve. First, there is no way to show a three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional piece of paper without greatly distorting the Earth's shape. (Doubters are hereby instructed to peel an orange, and try to flatten the peel without covering any part of it.)

The second dilemma is that while the Earth's surface appears rugged and uneven, the elevation range between the highest mountains and deepest ocean trenches represents such a tiny percentage of the Earth's circumference--about one part in 5,000--that the planet actually is smoother than a bowling ball. …

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