National Geographic : 1945 Jun
The Society's New Map of China BY JAMES M. DARLEY Chief Cartographer,National Geographic Society O F ALL countries on earth, China pre sents the biggest challenge to the map maker. Her borders enclose an area nearly twice as large as the United States, with three and one half times the population. In China lie the world's most massive mountains, immense river systems and barren deserts, vast regions under intensive cultivation, swarming cities. Superimposed on a map of North America, China would extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from Mexico City to Lake Win nipeg, Canada. In China live more than three times as many people as in this comparable area in North America. Every fifth person in the world is Chinese. Yet reliable map data about this huge seg ment of the earth's surface is extremely scarce. With this issue of their NATIONAL GEO GRAPHIC MAGAZINE, the 1,250,000 member families of the National Geographic Society receive a 10-color map supplement of China, printed on a sheet 37 by 26/' inches.* Months of careful research have gone into its preparation; all available basic data have been checked and compared. Varied Source Material Consulted On most maps of China only limited areas are reliable in detail; hence compilation of data for this over-all picture meant examina tion of a wide variety of source material. Your Society's cartographers consulted the latest Russian military maps of Outer Mon golia and other northern areas. They drew upon American and Japanese charts of Man churia, Chosen, and the China coast. They examined maps produced by the Survey of India for new data on the hinterlands of Burma, India, and Tibet. They studied new military maps of China proper. Study of this material revealed striking contradictions. On two maps, for example, the same town may appear in locations 30 miles apart. One map may show a complex system of roads and towns virtually unrecog nizable on another. To sift out accurate sources required painstaking research. Nightmare for cartographers is the correct spelling of place names in this land of in numerable dialects. There is no official Gov ernment list. Where post offices exist, names on the new map are the Chinese Postal Guide's romanized spelling of Chinese designations. Some 35 years ago the Conference on the International Map of the World recognized these spellings. Since then the list has been standardized, supplemented, corrected, and kept up to date. Postal maps published in 1942 show new post offices and incorporated changes. In a letter to the National Geographic So ciety, the Chinese Embassy observes: "The Chinese Government has tried its best to standardize pronunciation and spelling of the names of Chinese cities, but so far we do not have official spelling. However, the spelling used by the Chinese Post Office on its maps has the approval of the Chinese Government." Without recourse to a recognized list, spell ing of Chinese place names becomes hopelessly confused. A city as large and well known as Waiyeung is spelled Hweiyang, Huiyang, or Kweishan. Spelling of place names on the new map coincides with the spelling used in nearly all Chinese communiques and news dispatches. In April, 1944, the three major press asso ciations serving American newspapers adopted National Geographic Society spellings. This map will make for further conformity and readier recognition of Far East war news. Society members will experience no difficulty in following the progress of military opera tions with the map as a guide. New Addition to Wartime Series Your Society's new over-all picture of China rounds out a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC map series which affords members complete cover age for present and future military operations against Japan. Notable predecessors are the Map of the Philippines (March, 1945), Map of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (December, 1944), Map of Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands (October, 1944), Map of Japan and Adjacent Regions of Asia and the Pacific Ocean (April, 1944), and Map of Pacific Ocean and Bay of Bengal (Sept. 1943). On the north, the new cartographic mosaic embraces southeastern Kazakhstan and south * Members may obtain additional copies of the new "Map of China" (and of all other maps published by The Society) by writing to the National Geographic Society, Washington 6, D. C. Prices, in United States and Possessions, 500 each, on paper; $1 on linen; In dex, 254. Outside of United States and Possessions, 750 on paper; $1.25 on linen (postal regulations gen erally prohibit mailing linen maps outside of Western Hemisphere); Index, 500. All remittances payable in U. S. funds. Postage prepaid.