Thursday, July 28, 2016

Maps of Russia Available from Ball State University Libraries

Mapping the State of the World:  Russia

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) provides access to cartographic resources for research and learning.  Research papers and presentations are a common staple in academics.  And cartographic resources can be used as effective visual aids for papers and presentations.

Visual aids and graphics illustrate and emphasize ideas more effectively than words alone.  They also add credibility and clarity to a point of discussion.  Unique visual aids like maps can create excitement and interest and add impact to a message.  Maps are a basic visual representation of geography and a unique method for conveying a great deal of information in a succinct, easy-to-read way.

Atlases available from the GRMC and the Atlas Collection on the second floor of Bracken Library are excellent cartographic resources that include maps, charts, photographs, and other graphics that can add visual impact to papers and presentations.  The smaller size of atlases compared to larger maps allows for convenient scanning for use in papers.

State of the World Atlas by Dan Smith published in 2012 is 120 pages of timely, updated maps about various issues around the world.  “The aim of this atlas is to look at the world through the lens of world problems.”  Issues like life expectancy, literacy, education, income inequality, refugees, peacekeeping, human rights, health, and biodiversity are all represented in various maps and charts in the atlas. And the atlas is available in the GRMC and the Atlas Collection.  

Using multiple maps from this atlas can show the state of a particular country compared to its neighbors and the rest of the world.  The above maps include some of the serious issues facing Russia.  For example, the top map graphic (click to enlarge) shows how Russia did not have freedom of the press in 1984; then Russia’s press was considered partly free in 1994 following the openness of Glasnost under Mikhail Gorbachev; then by 2004 Russia’s press was considered not free again.  And four journalists were murdered in Russia in 2006.  (For comparison today, a map from Reporters without Borders describes freedom of the press as a “difficult situation” in 2016).

Other maps from the atlas include a depiction of human rights abuses where Russia is identified as using torture.  On the 2012 map of political systems, Russia is identified as “weak, uncertain, or transitional democracy.”  According to the map using the 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index, Russia’s government is considered “highly corrupt.”  And the atlas also includes maps showing Russia’s high rates of suicide and low levels of stated “quality of life.”

For more information about using maps and atlases as visual aids, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

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