Danger: Japanese Defense Ministry maps illustrate KorzybskiFriday, August 16th, 2019
[ by Charles Cameron — tempted by a typo to misquote Korzybski “The map is knot the territory” — where the knot is in the paradox of simulacra and simulation, see Jean Baudrillard ]
A total of at least 26 out of 48 maps in a Japanese white paper contained errors, according to an Asahi Shimbun article titled Maps in Defense Ministry white paper riddled with errors:
This Defense Ministry map identifying terrorist groups chiefly in Africa and the Middle East shows Qatar and Kuwait as parts of Saudi Arabia.
Mapping errors can be dangerous, as we have all been warned:
Some have not heeded the warning:
For instance, in a map showing the capability range of North Korea’s ballistic missiles, the hermetic nation’s capital, Pyongyang, is incorrectly located on the Sea of Japan side of the Korean Peninsula, not the Yellow Sea side. [ .. ]
In June, multiple errors were discovered in key data used for a report by the Defense Ministry on candidate sites for deploying a U.S.-made Aegis Ashore missile defense system in Japan.
The experts said that some of the diagrams in the latest white paper were also inaccurate.
In a map showing the flight range of Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft deployed by the U.S. military in Okinawa, concentric circles are used, centering on Okinawa’s main island. However, according to Tashiro, the ministry should have used an azimuthal equidistant projection map to properly show the distance and direction from the center.
As the expert quoted said:
Maps require accuracy, so we have common standards .. The ministry’s white paper in particular, because of its nature, needs to be treated carefully. If they don’t follow the standards, or make compromises, when drawing maps, it could lead to international issues and a loss of trust.
I do believe “international issues” refers to diplomatic tussles, certainly, and the possibility of war..
Consider this, from 10 Map Mistakes With Momentous Consequences:
Napoleon Bonaparte lost the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815, in part because of a map error. According to documentarian Franck Ferrand, Napoleon aimed his artillery in the wrong direction, far short of the British, Dutch, and Prussian lines. Napoleon relied on an inaccurate map when planning his strategy for the battle, which explains why he didn’t know the lay of the land and became disoriented on the battlefield. According to Ferrand, “It is certainly one of the factors that led to his defeat.”
Due to a printing error, the map showed a strategic site, the Mont-Saint-Jean farm, 1 kilometer (0.6 mi) from its true position, which was the range of Napoleon’s misdirected guns. It also showed a nonexistent bend in a road, according to Belgian illustrator and historian Bernard Coppens, who found the bloodstained map at a Brussels military museum.
As an Old Wellingtonian (OW, Blucher dorm), that’s evidence enough for me.