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February 5, 2007 12:03 AM

Broken: Hammacher Schlemmer wall map (in Sky Mall)

Skymallwallmap2_1 This is one of my all-time favorites. Flying on Continental a few weeks ago, I flipped through the SkyMall magazine and found this wall map from Hammacher Schlemmer.

See how intently the father teaches his daughter world geography!


How is this broken again? I have no objections to the ad. I've yet to see a larger map and there isn't anything particularly interesting about the man or his daughter/student.

Posted by: T-Bone at February 5, 2007 12:37 AM

It's broken because it's backwards.


Posted by: Serpent_Guard at February 5, 2007 12:43 AM

OMG! That's hilarious! I can't believe I missed that!

Posted by: T-Bone at February 5, 2007 12:53 AM

What I find more broken is the height of the map is 8'8". The standard ceiling height is 8'. What, they want you to trim 8" off the thing? Why wouldn't they just scale it down 8" and save the majority of their customers the hassle?

Posted by: Erich at February 5, 2007 02:29 AM

What planet is that?

Posted by: mesmer at February 5, 2007 11:16 AM

Rand McNally, where the water runs backwards, people wear hats on their feet, and hamburgers eat people.

Posted by: James at February 5, 2007 11:35 AM

It's a good thing he's not showing her Greenland...they'd need a ladder.

Posted by: Erich at February 5, 2007 01:07 PM

I'd definitely pay $149.95 for that. Everybody needs a map that they can read when they look in the mirror and is of massive dimensions.

Posted by: sum1else at February 5, 2007 02:41 PM

It's geography from the inside.

Posted by: eyexcaped at February 5, 2007 05:02 PM


Posted by: Cameron at February 5, 2007 05:40 PM

That's not broken - I'd buy that.

Posted by: Gabriel J. Smolnycki at February 5, 2007 06:21 PM

Heh! The ad says "accurately detailed". They got the details covered, it's just that the big picture is wrong.

Posted by: Zephyr at February 6, 2007 12:41 PM

The layout artist is either inept or is playing a joke to see who notices. I copied the picture into Photoshop and flipped it horizontally. It's fine that way. I know...perhaps the layout artist is a republican who doesn't like anything that leans to the left?

Posted by: bbsBill2 at February 6, 2007 04:49 PM

I was curious as to whether the graphic image (including actors) was flipped or simply the map itself (an even bigger cock-up).

The legend on the map IS reversed (careful examination shows it says 'Map of the World' reversed), so the whole map, including text is indeed backwards. Likely a simple graphic flip.

Unfortunately, there's no identifying marks to confirm that the actors are flipped.

Posted by: DavesBrain at February 6, 2007 06:50 PM

The best part is in the ad copy. "With hanging instructions" LOL!

Posted by: ruidh at February 6, 2007 10:46 PM

Layout artists are constantly flipping images in catalogs to make the page layout better. They get away with it most of the time - they probably looked for big text in the image & didn't see any.

Posted by: morcheeba at February 7, 2007 05:55 PM

How many men do you know that are left handed? He's probably pointing with his right hand... therefore he's probably flipped like the map.

Posted by: howident at February 7, 2007 06:49 PM

Even if it were not backwards, I think the map is still broken because it's north-centric, making South America and Africa look unusually small, compared to North America, Europe, and Asia.

Posted by: Lisa at February 8, 2007 12:21 PM

They flipped the image. It's right at the skymall site.

Posted by: officedog at February 8, 2007 03:18 PM

I have to agree it's broken. Look how short that kid is, how is he supposed to reach up to the top of an 8 foot high map to put pins in it for his geography report on Greenland? It'll be another 16 years and a ladder before he can reach that high.

What's more is, where's the north pole and south pole? Why are signficant northern and southern portions of the map missing?

Posted by: jonathan firestone at February 9, 2007 12:56 PM

oops. I did mean "she". :)

Posted by: jonathan firestone at February 9, 2007 12:58 PM

Not broken, just unorthodox.

This is how the earth would appear as seen from 180*, not 0*, as most maps are.

As for the projection. All maps are inherently inaccurate. Try it yourself, you CANNOT take a sphere and roll it out flat, you end up with some areas appearing to be out of proportion with others if you try. Maps just have to decide which areas they think are the most important. If you are plotting a route in the northern hemisphere, this projection (about the Prime Meridian, not 180*) would be a good choice.

Posted by: Elite Marksman at February 10, 2007 05:34 PM

Elite, I really do have to disagree. For me, the definition of broken is when it's unusable by the people it's meant for. If it's attempting to be used to teach someone significant elements of geography (as the advertisement would suggest) the presentation should at least be easily visible by someone so short as that little girl (thank heaven they're young and probably have good eyes and can stand back a bit ;D) and it should contain items as important as one of the largest masses of land on earth, such as Antarctica. Antarctica by the way is larger than Europe as a landmass, even if the population and economics leaves something to be desired. So, it's one thing to say a Map can't be accurate because it's round. It's another to say a map is somehow better because critical features are missing or are out of reach of the person it's supposed to be the most useful for.

Posted by: jonathan firestone at February 14, 2007 01:28 PM

Uhh, guys, that's what you'd call a Mercator map projection. Like any other map, it has its advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantage of the Mercator map is that the continents near the edges appear much bigger than they should, while the continents near the equator appear normal sized.

The advantage, however, is that if you draw a straight line from one spot to another, the line will really be straight. On other maps, such as the very common Robinson projection that does not distort the continent sizes, what seems like a straight line will actually be an arc across the earth's surface.

Therefore, the Mercator map is very useful for marine navigation. It is not the best map for teaching geography, as it makes Greenland look like South America when it is really the size of Mexico. Since this ad makes the map look like a good one for teaching geography, it is broken.

BTW, I have seen this very map in, you guessed it, a geography classroom. I can verifty that it is not, in fact, reversed in real life.

Posted by: TIBE4ME at February 14, 2007 10:23 PM

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