Territorial disputes are an inevitable aspect of political geography. One of the most contentious regions in the world is the South China Sea. We've been researching a blog for this on and off for a few months, but recently we found a succuint videographic by The Economist that actually makes it understandable. The islands and atolls may seem insignificant at first blush - but not when you consider that they are located amidst potentially rich oil and gas sea reserves, in one of the business sea-trade routes in the world.
Remind me to be very, very careful on my next (well, ...first) visit to China. As you know, Lizard Point is in the business of using maps to help people learn more about the world they live in, and in China - that can prove to be a risky proposition.
According to this article on ozy.com, China has a law against any illegal map that “endangers the country’s sovereignty, safety and interests”. And if your map doesn't comply with the country's rules - you can be in for a fine of up to 200,000 yuan (about $30,000 USD). The rules include naming the South China Sea properly and marking Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau in the same colour as mainland China.
Er, excuse me while I go double check our quizzes.
We've just launched a new 30-question quiz on Asia bodies of water. Seeing as the South China Sea dispute has been in the news so much lately, it is good to know where it is, if you don't already know. That will get you one point - can you get the other 29?
We recently created two new flag/map quizzes to help test your combined flag and country location knowledge. They were initially available to our supporters first, but they are now available to everyone!
Give them a try!
You see flags everywhere, flying from porches, over buildings, on boats and even on team jerseys. Do you ever stop and wonder what goes into a good flag design? Or what constitutes a really bad design? Here's a fun TED talk that covers all this off for you. If you don't have time to listen to it all, here are the top 5 flag design principles:
- Keep it Simple
- Use Meaningful Symbolism
- Use Two to Three Basic Colours
- No Lettering or Seals
- Be Distinctive or Be Related
But watch the video (especially the part about the bad designs).
Bonus sections: Design your own flag here >>
The folks at Google are piloting an interesting immersive geography program that might interest some of our readers.
The gist of the program is a to take students on a kind of virtual expedition where they can experience more than 100 interesting journeys. These simulated journeys could include a visit to the South Pole, coral reefs or ancient American ruins. With the Expedition Kit, students will be able to look up and down, and spin to get a 360-degree view of a location, as if they were visiting in person.
Expeditions teams will visit selected schools around the world, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Singapore and Denmark. Each team will bring a complete Expeditions kit with everything the teachers need to take their students on journeys anywhere. The team will show teachers how Expeditions works and help set it up before class.
There is no charge or cost involved in the program. You just need 6 interested teachers.