From the Worldwide Faith News archives

"West Wing" to Feature Peters Projection Map

Date 13 Feb 2001 12:47:11

Contact: NCC News, 212-870-2227


February 13, 2001, NEW YORK CITY – On NBC-TV’s popular political
drama “West Wing” on Feb. 28, the Organization of Cartographers
for Social Equality (a fictionalized professional society) pitches President
Bartlet and staff to support legislation mandating every public school in
America to teach geography using the Peters Projection map.

The Peters Projection map was produced with the support of the United
Nations Development Programme and is distributed in North America by
Friendship Press, the publishing imprint of the National Council of the
Churches of Christ in the USA.

The map has generated a firestorm of controversy since its introduction in
1975. The map projection, developed by Dr. Arno Peters, has both passionate
fans and staunch detractors. Conservative Thomas Sowell of the Hoover
Institution, in his recent book, “Vision of the Anointed,”
criticized advocates of "political correctness" for supporting the Peters

But many faith-based and social justice organizations, including Oxfam, the
National Council of Churches and the Mennonite Central Committee, support
the Peters Projection as being more accurate and, more importantly, fair to
all peoples.

The Peters is in a class of map projections, equal-area maps, that show all
countries at true size and true proportion. For example, the equator is dead
center in the middle of the map, rather than pushed down below the 50
percent mark on the vertical axis, as shown on nearly all other projections.

Greenland, on the familiar Mercator projection, appears to be the same size
as Africa. However, Africa (at 11.6 million square miles) actually is more
than 14 times as large as Greenland (at 0.8 million square miles).

Maps are designed for specific purposes, and they usually have agendas.
Because the earth is round, any flat map can only show a part of the truth. 
The Mercator was designed for navigation and is still valuable for that
purpose, but it gives a wildly distorted sense of size and position. The
Peters shows how large, and where, each country is.

The Peters Projection Map is available at local book and map stores, or
directly from Friendship Press. To order, call toll free 1-800-889-5733. 
Visit the Web site at to view a complete
catalog of Friendship Press books and maps.


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