A few recent posts have called into question the actions of the National Geographic Map Policy Committee.
Thanks to the helpful Kevin Lance of National Geographic Maps, I have the contact info for the Editorial and Research head in the Nat Geo Maps department, Juan Valdes. Yes, the coffee guy does maps too!
So far Nat Geo has been extremely accommodating. A big thumbs up to them! I'm excited to hear back from them.
After playing phone tag with Juan I sent him the following email:
Thank you very much for your prompt response.
Kevin Lance referred me to you to answer a few questions regarding the reasoning/research behind a few areas on the National Geographic political maps.
1. What happened (on the ground) between 2001 (based on the world map) and 2007 (based on the Africa map) that changed ownership of the Hala'ib triangle from Sudan to Egypt? Also, why is Bir Tawil now shown as part of Sudan?
It appears the change now recognizes the 1899 border established by the 22nd parallel in place of the 1902 agreement the British put in place.
I know the Sudanese have pulled troops from the area and that Egypt has invested in the area.
In summary of question 1 - Why is the Hala'ib triangle now shown as part of Egypt and why is Bir Tawil shown as part of Sudan?
Question 2 - Why is Somaliland shown in grey on the continent political maps but not delineated at all on the world map?
National Geographic often discusses its desire to reflect what is on the ground and remain a-political. Somaliland recently elected a new president in a free and fare election as an opposition candidate. It seems the reality on the ground is that Somaliland is very much an autonomous State. The same cannot be said for Somalia. It seems that the only issue for showing Somaliland as part of Somalia is the lack of international recognition. Isn't recognition by other countries a political decision in itself?
In summary of question 2 - What is the research and reasoning for showing Somaliland in grey on Africa political maps and not at all on world maps?
I'll post Juan's response as soon as I get it.
To pass the time, why not take a peak at some of my pictures from Namibia.