As Moscow puts the formal touches on its annexation of Crimea, the West says it won’t recognise the strategic Ukrainian peninsula as Russian territory.
But National Geographic will, according to Steven Nelson of U.S. News & World Report.
“We map de facto, in other words we map the world as it is, not as people would like it to be,” Juan José Valdés, the NatGeo’s geographer and director of editorial and research for National Geographic Maps, told U.S. News.
The world as it is involves a methodical Russian takeover of Crimea by masked soldiers without insignia and “self-defence forces” recruited from the Black Sea peninsula. The subsequent referendum was carried out under gunpoint and observed by various fringe characters from the EU.
“As you can only surmise, sometimes our maps are not received in a positive light by some individuals who want to see the world in a different light,” Valdés added.
NatGeo’s decision contrasts that of mapmaker Rand McNally, which will not be updating the educational atlases and maps displayed in classrooms nationwide.
“We take our direction from the State Department,” company spokeswoman Amy Krouse told U.S. News.
Nelson notes that the map battle will be live on Wikipedia as contributors have already posted and taken down maps.
Google Maps, as Politco Editor Blake Hounshell points out, now has a red-dotted line around it.
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