Ziebell approached 29 strangers on the University of Michigan’s campus, handed them a pen and half a sheet of paper, and asked them, on the spot, to draw a map of the world.

What You Get When 30 People Draw a World Map From Memory

map3
map2
map1

Ziebell, a high school student from San Antonio, took each drawing and layered them to create a composite ‘average’ world map (the second incorporates satelite data and some artistic licence):

average-world-map

You can view more of the drawn maps here.

Stray thoughts:

  • Florida and Italy make the cut on pretty much every map.
  • Australia (an entire freaking continent) is noticeably absent from quite a few
  • In fact, generally speaking if you’re an island you’re shit out of luck. Madagascar perhaps fares the best, but Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Japan, the Caribbean, New Zealand, Taiwan (and more) are missing more often than not.
  • Same for landlocked seas.
  • It would be fascinating to repeat this in different countries to see how the maps vary.
  • As wild as some of them are they are all recognisable as world maps.
  • I wonder how many of these more accurately represent land area than Mercator?

(via the always excellent @kottke, who you should consider supporting if you can spare $30 a year, his content is consistently great).