This Week: What's In a Map?

A couple of weeks ago, a survey and resulting map was making quite the buzz. No, it wasn’t the “What City Should You Actually Live In” survey (apparently I belong in LA, because I’m sure you were wondering). This survey showed that more Americans should probably spend a little less time on their BuzzFeed geography and more time on their world geography, because quite a few of them weren’t able to locate Ukraine on a map. More interestingly, the map showed that the less likely people are to know where Ukraine is the more likely they are to want military intervention in Ukraine from the US.

Each dot represents where a US survey respondent noted where Ukraine is located. Courtesy Image: Thomas Zeitzoff, The Monkey Cage

The post was so popular that the authors at the Monkey Cage revisited the topic and threw around a few ideas about why there might be a correlation between geographic knowledge and attitudes. This made me ask: does familiarity with a location heighten or change one’s attitude or emotion towards what takes place there? Is knowing location specifics a critical piece of information as we form our ideas and opinions, and in what way could or would that piece of information change your opinion? 

I may be especially interested in answers to these questions because I have worked with AidData on our geocoding efforts. The question we are intrinsically interested in is: how can knowing where activities are taking place change the decisions that are made concerning that activity or location? I am eager to know.

Another image that should be making waves and give viewers sticker shock is ODI’s report on remittances. The report highlights that African migrants are paying more than double the global standards for money transfers and are losing $1.8 billion to what they call a ‘super tax.’ The report also draws attention to the lack of competition in the money transfer market where two organizations control two-thirds of the market.

In case you’ve made this mistake yourself, Nancy Birdsall calls people out on labeling those who may not be below the $2 poverty line but aren’t yet financially secure at $10 a day as middle class. She makes a few interesting points. The ladder is slippery.

Taryn Davis is a Project Manager at Development Gateway. Email her your tips to get a shout-out in next week's post. 

Tags: UkrainemapsGISMonkey CageODIremittancesgeocoding


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