How useful are Maps?

Interested in improving your skills in this field? Then contact me about my in-house skills training sessions or apply for this Summer School course at Maastricht University:

Map of the Middle East
Map of the Middle East (source: The Maghreb and Orient Courier; click on map for large version)
Maps are key tools in geopolitical analysis. I would however advise you to always check the quality of the “facts” they (re-)present.

During a Geopolitical Scenario Planning Workshop on Yemen earlier this week, I used the map above (from an article by Emmanuel Pène). At first notice, the presented information probably looks familiar to you. The map nevertheless contains various disputed “facts”. One clue: does everybody agree with the population composition of Lebanon that the map suggests?

Another important issue regarding maps of geopolitical situations and processes concerns what is not depicted by them. Such absences reduce their analytical potential for your research. So to conclude, can you find an important regional, national or local factor that the map leaves out?

This post was earlier published by author on LinkedIn Pulse


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