Parts of the World That Cartographers Keep Forgetting Exist

Cartography can be a tricky and sometimes sensitive endeavor.  Just ask Google and its online Google Maps which has gotten plenty of flack for how it portrays disputed political areas.

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Other places seem to be frequently left off of maps because cartographers keep forgetting they exist. New Zealand is probably the most infamous example.  Frequently missing off of maps of the world, this island nation sits roughly 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) off of Australia and is made up of two main islands and about 600 smaller islands.  Despite its position squarely in the middle of all countries ranked by area, New Zealand is so frequently left off of world maps, that there are a few sites dedicated to documenting them.  For example, “World Maps Without New Zealand,” tracks maps found in airports, online, and in print lacking the country and a comically drawn New Zealand is added to all the maps to compensate for the oversight.

Via World Maps Without New Zealand.

New Zealand, where are you? Via World Maps Without New Zealand.

Prince Edward Island in Canada is another locale feeling slighted by cartographers.  Also referred to as P.E.I., the province in Canada was left off Vancouver airport maps which a resident noticed while traveling through the airport.

P.E.I. is missing from this crop of a map found at Vancouver Airport. On the right is the same area shown on Google Maps. Left map from Marie Gilchrist.

P.E.I. is missing from this crop of a map found at Vancouver Airport. On the right is the same area shown on Google Maps. Left map from Marie Gilchrist.

Hudson Bay, a Canadian retail group also felt the ire of P.E.I. residents for having left the area off of maps featured as part of its Grand Portage collection developed in honor of Canada’s 150th birthday.

Israel tends to disappear on some maps created for Middle East countries.  Both HarperCollins and Scholastic, publishers of educational materials, had to apologize a few years ago after readers noticed certain publications omitted the country.


In 2002, Snopes investigated and found true the allegation that certain automakers were omitting Israel from their maps.

More recently, researchers from the University of Minnesota looked at the airline routes of 111 airlines and found that many airlines based in the Middle East omitted Israel from their route maps (Discriminatory Product Differentiation: The Case of Israel’s Omission from Airline Route Maps”, February 2017, Joel Waldfogel and Paul M. Vaaler, University of Minnesota).

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