Sat, 27 Sep 2003

Map madness

From Kompas

Elementary school pupils in West Sumatra are usually told that the equator passes through Kota Bonjol, some four hours' overland trip to the north of the capital city of Padang. It means that Padang is to the south of this equator. In Kota Bonjol you can see a monument as a sign that the equator passes through this town.

Unfortunately, in most maps, for example those published in Surabaya, the equator is shown to pass through Padang, instead of Kota Bonjol.

I have checked four maps published by four publishers on sale at Gramedia book shop and three of them show this mistake.

About two decades ago, when I was still an elementary school pupil, my parents pointed out the same mistake. In those days, Ghalia was the only map publisher. This mistake was repeated in later editions.

This is a gross error because it is misleading to everybody -- young and old -- using the map. It may cause us to lose hundreds of square kilometers if, for example, there is a border dispute with our neighboring countries.

Relevant government authorities must quickly address this matter.


Padang West Sumatra