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Invasion, Secession, Disputed Borders... A Dilemma for Map Makers?

Posted by Barbara Fordyce on

Most of us tend to think of national borders as non-controversial – clearly marked, without ambiguity. And in most cases, they are. But occasionally border shift, change, evaporate even, causing cartographers to scramble to keep maps current.

Who Decides When a Border Gets Changed?

An important question, because when a boundary is drawn on a map, especially an official map, it conveys a message to viewers.

Map Resources' governing policy regarding boundaries is to follow the actions of the US State Department.  When a boundary, or a new country, is recognized by the State Department, we consider it official and update our maps.

Depicting Ambiguous Borders

Sometimes the precise location of a border is disputed over a long period of time, with little hope of agreement.  In such cases, Map Resources uses a dots or dashes instead of a solid line to show the border. 

Within the Adobe Illustrator file, the disputed borders are placed in a separate Illustrator layer to further distinguish them from official boundaries. 


For example, the China/India border, shown in dotted line, has no treaty behind it.



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