25
Jun
12

Doing One’s Homework

Gentle readers,

I must apologize to you for an error which I committed in my most recent writing here on Cartastrophe.

A few days ago I posted an analysis of two maps from the PBS series America Revealed. In developing my critique, I relied on a piece from the Daily Mail in the UK, which posted images of many of the maps in the series. I wrote up my post based solely on what the Daily Mail said about the maps, rather than going back and looking at them in their original context. I had originally thought that the PBS series hadn’t yet aired, and so I didn’t look too hard. But, in fact, it was available online, having appeared in the US about two months ago, and had I spent about 15 seconds looking online I would have learned this fact immediately.

Having now reviewed the maps as they appeared on the PBS series, I find that my critique of the first map was based on some erroneous assumptions about the map’s subject. It is not a map of raw job losses, but a map of manufacturing jobs in the 1990s, which then (as the video proceeds), shows the blue dots winking out as jobs vanish over time. If you go back to the original post, you’ll see that I’ve added some notes about the new context information.

I would like to apologize to you, readers, and to the creators of those maps, for judging them outside of their appropriate context. It is my responsibility to research the works that I show here, to ensure that the comments I make are based on a correct assessment of how the map is used, and what it purports to be about. I take this responsibility seriously, and I try to limit my critique to things that are positively known about the map, rather than assumptions. I did not do my homework sufficiently in this case.

It is my opinion that pretty much all of my critique remains valid in light of the new information on these maps, so hopefully I dodged a bullet there. However, that’s ultimately for you to judge. It’s up to you, as my readers, to determine if I am making fair and reasonable points about the maps I examine. I provide links to their sources for this purpose. Because of my laxness, neither of us had all the information needed to assess these works.

I’m sorry about this; it won’t happen again.

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6 Responses to “Doing One’s Homework”


  1. 1 Miles Archer
    25th June, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    People make mistakes. Good people admit them.

  2. 2 Ann
    26th June, 2012 at 12:03 am

    There are manufacturing jobs in the desert? You were right the first time. Don’t make chloropleth maps that look like density maps.

  3. 3 The Invalid
    26th June, 2012 at 4:25 am

    If you were from the UK, you would know that the Daily Mail is not to be trusted! It’s well known (amongst reasonable open-minded people) as being a nasty little rag.

  4. 4 Jake
    26th June, 2012 at 6:45 am

    Thanks for the clarifications and corrections. The fact that you owe up to inaccuracies and correct them adds a lot to the weight to the analyses found on this blog. Much appreciated! I agree with your judgment that the original criticisms aren’t substantially altered by the new information.

    Keep up the great work!

  5. 5 Ted Wham
    27th June, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    To err is human. To admit the error is to be an honorable human. Nicely done.


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