Talk:1688: Map Age Guide

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After the fall of Constaninople it was also known as Ḳosṭanṭīnīye for a while in the Islamic World which you could argue is Constantinople?

I think we should make the second-right and far-right column wider. Blacksilver (talk) 16:12, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

Well, I have no clue how to upload the image, it just displays the title text. 12:47, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Done. Guess the bot failed because there is a larger one when you click the image on xkcd? --Kynde (talk) 13:08, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
The BOT didn't fail. The was an 404 error, the picture wasn't available at the first time. --Dgbrt (talk) 14:03, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

I feel like the title seriously lacks the word "political", there's all sorts of nice things with dating non-modern world maps. -- 13:34, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

It doesn't just cover political maps -- there is a section on telling when you are with physical maps via the presence or absence of bodies of water. In fact, there are four or five main branches: fictional maps, topographical maps, not a map, and political maps (which have two branches, based on the naming of Istanbul (was Constantinople) 13:42, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

I like how that this flow chart also describes what I've drawn162.158.26.220 14:05, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

The 1992-1996 range (top right corner) could be narrowed down further with the independence of Eritrea 1993. Am I getting something wrong or did Randall actually overlook this? :-) 14:49, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Or the splitting of Czechoslovakia, also in 1993... There are probably others for different time ranges, too. 16:28, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Noone else has started work on this and I'm bored so... (feel free to reorder and/or add more detail where appropriate) Relevant Events

Is there a big lake in Southern California? (Created by Mistake) Salton Sea A previously dry lakebed accidentally flooded in 1905 while attempting to increase irrigation to the area from the Colorado River

Vietnam unification: the two Vietnams were not united in 1975. Although the communist victory took place with the capture of Saigon in April of that year, the state of South Vietnam continued to exist, under the rule of the Provisional Revolutionary Government, until 1976. The two nations were formally united as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on July 2, 1976. Ref: 14:28, 7 November 2016 (UTC) How far East do the American Prairies reach? The Northwest Territory was incorporated in pieces ~1820s, there may be something more relavent to draw the line at Indiana though.

Is there a big lake in the middle of Ghana? (Created on Purpose) Lake Volta

The US's southern border looks Gadsden Purchase

"Buda" and "Pest" or "Budapest" Buda and Pest were originally two different cities

Does Russia Border the Sea of Japan? Russia currently borders the sea of Japan so the 1867 upper limit is because of Tokyo not existing higher in the chain. The 1858 limit is to do with the Treaty of Aigun

Rhodesia? The dates down the chain suggest this is about Rhodesia the Region not Rhodesia the Unrecognized state nor Southern Rhodesia the British Colony (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

We are talking about physical/stellite maps at this point of the chart. Incorporation is not relevant. This is about the movement or size change of the American prairies. Climate change, perhaps. Haven't found anything relevant on that, though. Maybe it is about untouched land, as in not having settlements. -- 16:05, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Should the relevant links above be added directly to the transcript, or to a separate section? -- 14:29, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

The transcript is only for faithful transcription of the comic. It exists for users who would otherwise be unable to view the regular comic, and should contain nothing but the contents of the comic. Links go in the explanation, if relevant. Davidy²²[talk] 18:56, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey! (It's Ankara) 14:41, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Maybe a better way of organizing this is chronologically, i.e., show the state of the world each year.

That being said, is every year accounted for? For example, 1857 appears to be missing. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

From the left and roughly in chronological order (only partial, might add more later):

'The Holy Roman Empire?' 1806 - Dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire by Emperor Francis II

'Do Any of These Exist?'

1867 - British North America act passed, marking Canadian independence

- Alaskan Purchase by US from Russian Empire

- Meiji Restoration (in 1869, Emperor Meiji moves to Edo, which is renamed Tokyo)

'Texas is...'

independent - 1836? 35? 34? Texas Revolution

'Florida is part of...'

The US: 1818 - US basically controls East Florida after First Seminole War (Spain officially cedes the territory in the Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819.

'Venezuela and or Ecuador?'

1830 - Both Venezuela and Ecuador become independent as the Republic of Gran Colombia dissolves in late 1830, early 1831.

'Does Russia border the Sea of Japan?' 1858 - China cedes territory to Russia under the Treaty of Aigun, bordering the Sea of Japan (sort of? There's also the Treaty of Beijing)

'South Africa?' 1910 - the Union of South Africa created, thanks to the South Africa Act 1909 enacted by British parliament

'Is Bolivia landlocked?' 1884 - Treaty of Valparaiso signed ceding Bolivian territory to to Chile, leaving Bolivia landlocked (see also War of the Pacific

'Buda and Pest or Budapest?' 1873 - Buda and Pest merge to become Budapest

'Is Norway part of Sweden?' 1905 - Sweden-Norway dissolved, Norway becomes an independent monarchy

'Rhodesia?' Rhodesia was named under the British South Africa Company in 1895

'Austria-Hungary?' 1918 - Austria-Hungary officially separates into Austria and Hungary

'Albania?' 1912 - Albania declares independence from the Ottoman Empire

'Leningrad?' 1924 - Petrograd (Saint Petersburg) changes its name to Leningrad

You know there are times where I suspect he's just making some of his comics intentionally hard to explain or very ambiguous just to watch us do somersaults trying to describe them and make it clear, not necessarily for this comic but definitely with some of them it just seems that way. I don't know if he does or not, or how much he even pays attention to this wiki, just a thought. Of course maybe he does just because we're prime nerd sniping material. Lackadaisical (talk) 16:00, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure 'is it larger than a breadbox' is a reference to 20 questions. 16:11, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

From the Wikipedia page for 'Breadbox': "The most common reference to breadboxes is the phrase "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" when trying to guess what some surprise object may be. This question was popularized by Steve Allen on the American game show What's My Line? where he initially asked the question on 18 January 1953. It remains a popular question in the parlor game 20 Questions." 17:48, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Note that it is very hard to even find Jan Mayen on an actual world map (even a political one), never mind figure out which country it belongs to. So anyone actually following these questions might (in some cases) get derailed fairly easily. 18:20, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

You will only get there if you can't find Istanbul/Constantinople, you can't find the Ottoman Empire, you can't find North Korea, and Soviet Russia can't find you. Note that the "no" box actually says "not yet". If you can find any of those four, you will never reach the Jan Mayen box. You will also never answer "yes" to the Jan Mayen box, as that would contradict the Soviet Union and North Korea not existing. 20:34, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
I tried to explain that a response of "What?" is interpreted to be unable to find Norway, not Jan Mayen, for this reason and that the name didn't exist until 1620, but then I couldn't eliminate that the map is from 1299 or earlier, because the kingdom of Norway is not that old. As for the "Yes" response, for a short period between November 1 and December 28, 1922, neither the Soviet Union nor the Ottoman Empire existed, and Norway had already received jurisdiction over Jan Mayen then.--Troy0 (talk) 07:16, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
I stumbled on this when trying to apply the test to the Yakko's World map (which is normally mid-1990 - total of Yemens and Germanys is 3; of course, that's because there's 2 Yemens and 1 Germany, and the intended date was probably in 1991). As it happens, the Soviet Union is labelled "Russia", Korea is shown as unified, and Istanbul is not labelled at all but the country is Turkey, so we get to the Jan Mayen question. (I hadn't looked at thar map precisely enough to figure out if Jan Mayen is there at all, but it must be Norwegian if it does appear. However, even if we answer "yes", it would not be possible to reach the 1990 option anyway [we get 1954-57, in fact]. OTOH, if we accept that the Soviet Union is there, we correctly reach the Micronesia question, and the mid-1990 option is close enough to that to be able to guess correctly.) 13:56, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

Update picture, please: The "giant French blob" "yes" option points to the correct box (Pakistan) on but not on this page (Bangladesh), and the incorrect version leaves out approximately 1930-1960. 20:34, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

I fleshed out the Narnian section with links to the original illustrated maps from several books (but this gets weird in a hurry because there is no consistency of illustrations across the various editions of the books). I think it deserves to be mentioned in the article (although I did not try) that Randall is being slightly disingenuous with the history of maps of Narnia. For instance, there is no published map with sufficient detail to determine if Beruna has a ford or a bridge, neither can I find a map that includes Aslan's Country. On the other hand, it is also not an accurate history of the geopolitics of Narnia; for instance, Calormen existed during the time of the first three books even if it wasn't listed on any of the authorized maps. Also, it is the first time I have helped to edit an article, so I apologize for the quirkiness (especially the reliance on non-wikipedia links). Mwdaly (talk) 02:55, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

The introduction to the Narnia section reminds me of Douglas Adams' discussion of the difficulties of tense formation in time travel [1], differences between writing/publication order and reading order are very like time travel. 16:24, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

Any particular reason the Crimea description was edited to be so much more condemning of Russia? I could understand if it was originally written that way, but it was changed essentially to put Russia's actions in a negative light. Is that something that needs to be done? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

My map doesn't fit the chart... I think?

I've got a Stanford's General Map of the World (On Mercator's Projection) from 1968. My answers:

Istanbul -> The Soviet Union exists -> West Africa is not a giant French blob -> Only one Vietnam -> Jimmy Carter is fine... I think? The only animals on my map are Poseidon and a seahorse -> Sinai is mostly Egyptian...

Bangladesh exists, and below Victoria is Tanzania; so where's the second Vietnam I've failed to locate on my map? Mr FJ (talk) 20:44, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Your map is optimistic in suggesting there is only one Vietnam, as 1968 was in the heart of the Vietnam War. 22:42, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
Saint Trimble's Island

I think the real question is: how long until there actually is one on this planet, even though Randal claims to have made it up. --Divad27182 (talk) 03:30, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

Perhaps this should refer to Sandy Island. [2] 16:18, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

There was a Trimble Island 11:51, 30 June 2020 (UTC)

Appearantly the year of an event is included in intervals after the event, but not in those prior. How do we handle it? Troy0 (talk) 03:46, 2 June 2016 (UTC)


Going on the path neither - no ottoman empire - no soviet union - no north korea - jan mayen is norwegian I will get results that all belong to a time were the soviet union existed. Am I doing it wrong?-- 08:01, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

This path implies a time interval between November 1 and December 28, 1922, so it is unclear why it is linked to the Istanbul Division, which is 1928 or later.--Troy0 (talk) 08:28, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

Did it work on your map?

I just tried this out on an old Danish world atlas (Lademann Verdensatlas with most English names also included). And although I could not determine the capital of Micronesia, I found out that it was still called Upper Volta not Burkino faso and thus the map should be from 1982-1984. First then did I check the release date for this map and true enough it was from 1982! Cool. --Kynde (talk) 08:41, 2 June 2016 (UTc)

it can guess modern maps

Didn't work

A map [3] in the New York Public library, dated 1840, is given a date of 1818-1830. Notably this map has Texas as part of Mexico (though mentioned as in captials indicating a district within Mexico. It is also missing independent Paraguay, Ecuador and Venezuela. Zeimusu (talk) 10:04, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

Apparently most Mars maps were made in 1922-1932. No Istanbul/Constantinople, no Ottoman Empire, Soviet Union exists (e.g. Mars 3 and Mars 6), no Saudi Arabia... -- 11:18, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

I have been evaluating world globes (subset of maps of course) for several years, and find this quite amusing. A note of interest: Apparently Randall knows that maps often do include copyright or other dates, while globes with very few exceptions do not include a date. There are other guides to finding the date of presentation of a globe of course, which may or may not pin the date down more precisely. Pault151 (talk) 05:38, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

Hugo Giraudel made a command line version of this: (full disclosure: I helped) Haroenv (talk) 16:24, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

Starting at the Istanbul Division, the Question Date Range no longer fits the definition at the top of the table, and now includes the effects of the Prior Date Range. 07:03, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

I tried to apply this to a map of Pangaea and ended up being taken to the "you made this yourself" part... 09:49, 27 August 2017 (UTC)

It's very nice. 12:22, 25 October 2017 (UTC)

How come Istanbul can both exist and not exist on a map of the same date. They can both lead to Zare/Zaire. Netherin5 (talk) 18:04, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

Munroe writes: "(Assuming it's complete, labeled in English, and detailed enough)" which is unfortunately not enough of an assumption. Some publishers are notorious for updating slowly. Like looking at the light that left a galaxy several years ago, you may be looking at a map that reflects reality the last time the publisher really updated it (and did not just slap a new date on it). Also, there's Constantinople. Which still shows up on maps of Greece, published in English, in Greek. In fact, the list of facts that map-makers deny or have denied for political reasons is huge. It's why this game (which I used to play when I was a kid - 2 Pakistans and the name of the Congo were major indicators) can be frustrating. And no, we did not use UAR, since different mapmakers handled it differently. Hey, I found this one with Smyrna: Can someone find one with Constantinople? Oh, oh, and I used to be a cartographer. It doesn't make me right, but I like saying it. Jd2718 (talk) 23:41, 21 December 2020 (UTC)

The alert box at the top of every page needs to be changed, as this explanation is no longer incomplete.

Agreed. maybe change it to 1975: Right Click? 17:21, 7 August 2021 (UTC)Bumpf

Um... o-oh dear. We should probably start keeping an eye out for those spiders... LendriMujina (talk) 19:53, 28 January 2022 (UTC)

Can Colorado hurry up and have a nuclear meltdown? It's 2022. Beanie talk 23:16, 24 February 2022 (UTC)

Regarding "A map that does not include either the HRE or the USA must be older than the HRE, which would put the map sometime prior to 1000 AD, when there really were no countries, and English wasn't used yet, hence Randall's comment". " I could be wrong, but my interperation of this was that a map that isn't in English wouldn't list the HRE or USA under those names, regardless of when it was made. Like, I'm imagining someone going through the flowchart thinking "Nope, I'm seeing something called the Sacrum Imperium Romanum, but no Holy Roman Empire." 13:00, 27 January 2023 (UTC)