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Personal Note: Many who know me, know that I have a hot button when it comes to Bogus Maps of Alaska and the 50 states of the United States. Over the years, I have done several letters to the editor (many were published); I have done Tweets ( #bogususamaps ), Facebook pages and many Facebook status comments; I have done YouTube video rants with motion graphics; I have done letters of protest to associations of geographers and cartographers who accept the use of Bogus USA Maps; and now with this page, I have done a regular essay on the subject. My concerns about this issue come partially from living and working in Alaska since 1958, but mostly from the several summers I have spent creating accurate maps in the field on highway survey crews to pay for college; the one summer I spent on the headwaters of Alaska's Copper River with a USGS dam site survey crew; the year and a half I spent as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan with Afghan field survey crews doing cadastral surveys; and the year I spent as a consultant developing - and ultimately helping to litigate - legislative district maps requested by Alaska's Reapportionment Board in 1990. When US President Barack Obama decided to come to Alaska in late August, 2015, I decided to class up my act, and do this essay on the subject of Bogus Maps of Alaska and the 50 states of the United States of America. Please take the two or three minutes needed to read the essay below. Let me know what you think HERE

A Bogus Map of the 50 States of the United States has the general form shown below.

On a Bogus Map, the locations of the faux states of Alaska and Hawaii might appear anywhere, in any size, along the west coast of the US, or anywhere south of Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas, or anywhere in the Gulf of Mexico, or, in the worst example, the Bogus USA Map published by the USGS that shows Alaska in the Atlantic Ocean hundreds of miles off the US East Coast... or anyplace except where, geographically, those states are actually located on the planet. This essay is about why Alaska, Hawaii, and the other 48 states must be located in an accurate geographic relationship with each other on any map that claims to represent the 50 States, and the people living in those States. After all, airplane pilots, ship captains, explorers, and Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Sea Scouts of all ages avoid bogus maps like the plague. Why should those of us concerned about the future of our country, our beautiful state of Alaska, and our Arctic nation be any different.

There is a simple test for a map's Bogusness: Any map with correct geography will conform to one of an unlimited number of math-based map projections. Of these the Mercator Projection may be the most familiar global projection. It is used by publishers of many world maps. Map projections can be used to describe, with mathematical precision the correct geographic relationship, in latitude and longitude, of any place, or object, on Planet Earth, with any other place or object.

A Really, Really Bogus USA Map.

This is a map of the 50 States that most people around the US - including Alaska - see when they watch the news, or watch any number of cable talk shows; when they read the newspaper, or any number of professional and academic journals; when they think about the weather, think about the American States of Alaska, or Hawaii, or think, in general, about the size and shape of the US in terms of its location on Planet Earth.

The Washington Post newspaper published an article with imagery - titled: "30 Fake Maps that Explain the World" - on the general topic of Bogus maps on April 16, 2015.

Washington Post website.

A single Google search on "Bogus Maps of the United States" produces hundreds of Bogus Map images, among them, the USGS map shown in this article. The US Federal Agency commonly named USGS (actually the United Geological Survey) is charged with making and distributing truth-based maps of land areas of interest in the US, and around the planet. But the truth is that the Capital of Alaska - Juneau - is NOT located a couple of hundred miles west of San Diego, California; and the Capital of Hawaii - Honolulu - is NOT located South of El Paso, Texas. Unlike the Bogus USGS map, Alaska is also NOT located in the Atlantic Ocean east of New York City.

When these kinds of images are used to support scholarly work on one subject or another, they undermine what may otherwise be considered authoritative scholarship. Bogus maps are for Public Relations and advertising. As with all public relations, public relations maps are used to sell ideas, or other items of trade on the cheap... "cheap" meaning that public relations people are under no obligation, and no legal pressure, to check the geographic facts in the advertisements they prepare. So, the question is: what are the publishers trying to sell when they use these Bogus Maps in their publications?

Bogus maps should never be used when serious topics are being discussed, or when the information shown on the map is to be widely distributed among the public.

Books to be used in schools should never contain Bogus maps, except in discussions of the public uses of false data, propaganda, and other fake information presented in a context that is intended, in the mind of a hopeful publisher, to look to the publisher's audience like truthfulness.


A Planetary Map of the United States of America has been developed by an Alaskan company which shows the 50 States of the United States with accurate geographic relationships among the 50 States:

A Planetary Map of the 50 States.

A Short History of Alaska

By an Act of the United States Congress in August of 1958, and a Proclamation by President Eisenhower on January 2, 1959, the Territory of Alaska was made the 49th state of the United States of America. Alaska became a territory of the United States when Secretary of State William Henry Seward received permission from the US Congress, in October 1867, to buy the land mass called Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000.

A brief overview of Alaska's Geography

Compared to the size of the other 49 states, the State of Alaska is huge. At 663,268 square miles, Alaska covers an area about 2.5 times as large as the area covered by the State of Texas, and over 1/5th the size of all the contiguous 48 states. If the Southeasternmost point of Alaska, near Ketchikan were placed on the City of Savannah, Georgia; the City of Point Barrow, Alaska placed on the City of Duluth, Minnesota; then the Island of Attu, Alaska would touch the City of Los Angeles, California.

Alaska's geographic spread across the Planet is also significant in that Alaska is the Easternmost, Westernmost, and Northernmost State of the United States. The Northernmost city in the United States, Point Barrow, Alaska, lies at: 71 degrees, 24 minutes, 5.72 seconds NORTH; 156 degrees, 27 minutes, 18.88 seconds WEST ...over 6 degrees Latitude north of the Arctic Circle. The island of Attu, at the Westernmost end of Alaska's Aleutian chain lies at 52 degrees, 50 minutes, .48 seconds NORTH; 173 degrees, 11 minutes, 2.46 seconds EAST ...over 6 degrees Longitude into the Eastern (Asian) hemisphere.

On a historic, and rather painful note, many Bogus Alaska maps published in Alaska fail to show the far western end of the Aleutian Chain. At the end of the Chain the islands of Attu, and the nearby islands of Shemya and Kiska, were - during 1942 through 1943 - the only United States territory, along with Wake Island, to have been invaded and occupied by a hostile foreign army since the war of 1812. Five thousand allied soldiers were killed and wounded in the year long war that led to the re-capture of the three Aleutian islands.

The Southeasternmost border of Alaska is located over 500 miles Northwest of the Northwesternmost border of the 48 contiguous United States at Neah Bay, Washington. Neah Bay is at the mouth of Puget Sound, over 120 miles West of downtown Seattle.

Why is any of this important?

More important than size, Alaska's location relevant to the other 49 states makes the State of Alaska the only reason the United States can be considered to be an Arctic nation, and eligible, therefore, to particpate as a co-equal voting member in the Primary Councils of other Arctic nations. Created in 1996, The Arctic Council meets every 6 months to set policy for the Arctic. By Charter, The "member states" in the Arctic Council include Canada, Denmark (with Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.

In the Arctic Council's current 2 year term (2015 to 2017), The United States holds the Chairmanship.

Other participants accepted as non-voting Observers in the work of the Council include: China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom.

In late August, 2015, The US State Department, as part of the US role as current Arctic Council Chairman - sponsored a Conference on the Arctic in Anchorage, Alaska.

On August 31, US President Obama, and several foreign dignitaries made presentations at the meeting. Following these presentations, the President also made side trips to the isolated bush communities of Dillingham and Kotzebue. In Kotzebue the President made another mark in history as the first US President to travel north of the Arctic Circle, and to meet with and learn about the lives of people living there.

Alaska's primary outlet for statewide news in print and digital formats, the Alaska Dispatch News based in Anchorage, is providing continuing coverage.

Alaska Dispatch News website

Longer term, Alaska, guided by the policies of the US, will be a critical factor in the resolution of issues and problems arising out of Resource Development, National Security, Global Warming, and Rapidly Melting Arctic Ice.

Several rapidly evolving issues come to mind which could be considered by the Arctic Council:

1.) The island of Big Diomede, located in the Bering Strait, is under Russian Sovereignty. Little Diomede, located two miles to the east, is under US/Alaska sovereignty. These two islands in the Bering Strait are in the middle of a surface access choke point between the Bering Sea to the south, and the Chukchi Sea and the Arctic Ocean to the north. At the narrowest point in the Bering Strait, the distance between the mainland of Russia and the mainland of the US is less than 52 miles;

2.) Shell Oil has spent billions of dollars developing an exploratory drilling program to send rigs into the Chukchi Sea 150 miles north of the Bering Strait. The leasing area is 100 miles off-shore, and is spread over 10,000 square miles of US federal territory on the Continental Shelf. This is an area where, in winter, annual arctic ice extending south of the Bering Strait has been a common event through history. Now, the climate in the Arctic is warming faster than anyplace on earth, and the annual ice cover in the Arctic Ocean is rapidly thinning and decreasing in extent. After much trouble and many costly set-backs, Shell Oil started drilling at the end of July, 2015. They shut down shortly after reports came in of very disappointing quantities of oil. In late September, Shell Oil sent the drill rigs back to the states, and cancelled the remainder of their exploration program;

3.) Estimates of oil on the Arctic's Outer Continental Coast are huge, however, so others may eventually try for Big Oil's grand prize in the Arctic. However, Shell's difficulties in moving the floating drill rigs, ships, and support equipment into the leasing area has generated many stacks of official reports, and has filled many columns of Alaska and US newsprint;

4.) On-shore support in Alaska for this kind of drilling activity is non-existent. Other than a couple of jet-capable airports, there are only local roads in and around the two nearest small communities; Point Lay and Wainwright. There are no rails, or ground-based infrastructure to support drilling operations, let alone oil spill response, rescue operations, maintenance operations, or any sea-going operations between Nome, Alaska and the nearest surface access to North America's continental highway system at Prudhoe Bay. Prudhoe Bay is 1300 miles along Alaska's Arctic coastal plain (aka the "North Slope")to the North and Northeast from Nome; and

5.) The atmospheric heating generated by global warming has had it's most immediate effect in the arctic latitudes. This has included extensive permafrost melting on land with the result of greater releases of climate warming carbon dioxide. These releases then trigger more rapid melting of the Arctic Ice Cap. Then, as light-reflecting snow and ice disappear to be replaced by darker, much more heat-absorbing open water the accelerating cycle of warming and melting increases at faster and faster rates.