The Power of Maps

Atlas-des-îles-de-l'Atlantique Skärgårdsfakta

Two island regions – the western isles of France and the archipelago of Stockholm – are describing themselves with clever maps: Atlas des Îles de l’Atlantique by Sébastien Colas, 2009: and Skärgårdsfakta (Arcipelago facts) by Tomas Norberg and Terese Zäll at the Swedish Regional Authority, 2014:—grafiska-kartor-2014.aspx.

These maps are different. They are not for tourists, they are not sea charts, they are not for geologists or biologists. They show the islands from the islanders point of view: where people live, how transports function from a time-related aspect, how well services are spread over the islands, and more.

When I ask what impact these maps have had, Denis Bredin tells me:

“For French islands, the atlas was very important to display to public authorities their specific problems. It helped to build a first Etat-Région contract, ended last year and to start a new contract to help islands to deal with their specific issues. The goal is to sign a new contract 2015-2020 with State & Region Bretagne.”

Tomas Norberg tells me: “Thanks to these maps, Rural Development money for the islands in the new period has increased from 3 MEUR out of 80, to 29 MEUR out of 400. The main reason for this is the way that the remoteness of a village is calculated. The question was: “Do you live more than 15 minutes from a grocery shop?” and the answer used to be based on going 90 km/h on a road. Thanks to these maps, it became evident that the islands are quite distant – in time.”

The power of maps.

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