6. Rising Sea Levels Marshall Islands: Majuro Atoll by 2055

Now it’s Your Turn

In the comments, please ask questions or make suggestions that will help the cartographer improve the map. Key things to think about include:

  • Does the map orient the viewer?
  • Does the data tell a story?
  • Does the map support the story being told?
  • Does the map make assumptions?
  • How could the map be more readable?
  • Are there any errors or typos?
  • Joela Jacobs

    I like it a lot! The only thing I couldn’t immediately find was the red from the legend on the map. I think that needs to be made more visible, since it’s the whole point (maybe you could create bi-color stripes in the orange/red areas).

  • Aly DeGraff Ollivierre

    Beautiful, love the use of the Stamen basemap! I would consider reducing the font size for the sources and the cartographer/researcher’s names to keep the emphasis on the map itself. Do you have building footprints that you could add (or would it be feasible to digitize these)? Given the relatively small size of the island, it would be extra valuable to show how densely it is inhabited and how much of the atoll would be effected by the SLR. Also, do you have bathymetry (or could you digitize the basic outline from aerial imagery) it would be valuable to show the appx depth of the water surrounding the atoll. I would also consider reducing the font size on the main text and moving the map itself up on the page a little to center it more. Great job!

  • Tangnar

    I agree with Aly, the building footprints would be nice. They exist in OpenStreetMap, so you could pull those data and bring them into the map easily. I think this would highlight the threat to those living there.

    Maybe style them as just a slightly darker shade. I would also make the aquifer stand out a little more.
    Cool map, always interested to see effects of sea level rise on individual places.

  • Change the submerged coastline legend symbol to a stroke instead of a fill to match its appearance on the map. Check your symbols and projection info (or the image resizing itself), the dots look elongated NS to me. I love the Stamen watercolor map for the locator, but it’s pixelating at the very large scale of the main map. You could look for your own textured watercolor paper background to sub since none of the Stamen land artwork shows up in the main map anyway. The degree symbol in the lat/long coordinates is a bit oversized. But a really nice map overall!

  • sarah dorrance

    This is a beautiful map. I would darken latitudinal info. 1st paragraph I would move Unemployment to new line. Last sentence in same paragraph, replace ‘Now’ with Again. I like seeing the cartographers names and don’t think they should be made smaller, though I do not know your font size.

  • Melissa Brooks

    Good use for this popular style of background, only a couple of things to note. try removing the outline of the photos, I dont think its necessary, or make it thin and black. The grey of the roads is blending in a bit too much, can you make it stand out a bit more. And the red for the submerged coast, can you turn this into an outline on the legend as its not shown as a solid fill on the map, otherwise it has a nice balance, and the story flows naturally.

  • Kate Brauman

    The most immediate threat to the Marshallese coming from salt water encroachment into the freshwater lens and not through inundation of the islands is interesting and compelling. Could you set this up in the text by referring to the map? (e.g. that the submerged coastline is big but not enormous, but the aquifer is small and threatened)

    How does the fraction of the Marshallese population living in the US relate to the rest of the story this map tells? Why is the unemployment rate important?

  • AD

    Map looks great. Only thing would be to change the legend with the 2055 submerged to be a peach square with a red outline (as it appears on the map), rather than just red.

  • Daniel

    I love the narrative of this map–and how the blue water spreads allover the map seems to inundate the page, echoing your narrative.

    (1) I am a big fan of the Stamen watercolor, but wonder if its symbolic use of a similar color scheme might run at cross purposes with your presentation of a more complex local story of saltwater incursion and submerged coasts. I however love how th islands are of such small scale taht they seem to vanish from a large-scale map, and then we learn that they are actually vanishing.

    (2) I wonder if the very effective images are necessary, although they are very visceral–and like the image of flooding, They can work, but the combination of sea level rise is striking if it can be told by both incursion and shrinking shores.

    (3) There’s a bit of interesting but perhaps scattered info the might need to be fleshed out in text. The demographic info is fascinating, but seems in unclear relation; similarly, Bikini Atoll explosions are terrifying, as population transfer, but also not linked to the map–save in terms of the lack of attention to the islands’ populations. I would perhaps start from striking USGS statement as a start, and elaborate it in terms of the current water-related threats that you describe, and suggest how this exacerbates a region plagued by high unemployment/past disasters.

    (4) The Lens aquifer on Majuro might be made more recognizable in a different color, or by not framing it in legend.

    Question: Does drinking water come to Marshall Islanders entirely from wells? Is the flooding by seawater seasonal?