While the rest of the Western world refuses to accept Russia’s annexation by force of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, National Geographic was quick to recognize the territorial takeover.
The popular American-based publication has decided to include Crimea as part of Russia in their maps once the Russian Duma votes to formally annex the peninsula.
On Tuesday, National Geographic’s editorial, legal, and map-making leadership met to discuss how the magazine should depict Crimea.
“We map de facto, in other words we map the world as it is, not as people would like it to be,” Juan José Valdés, National Geographic’s geographer and director of editorial and research for National Geographic Maps, told U.S. News.
“As you can only surmise, sometimes our maps are not received in a positive light by some individuals who want to see the world in a different light,” Valdés added.
Other cartographers are facing a conundrum when it comes to mapping Ukraine. Google maps, as of Wednesday, still formally lists Crimea as part of Ukraine, but the peninsula has a dotted red line around it.
Wikipedia’s English Language page for Russia has been the subject of popular contention. At one point Crimea was depicted as part of Russia.
Though as of publication, Wikipedia shows Crimea as a disputed territory.
Crimea’s uncertain status has pushed the Associated Press to make changes as well. In reports from Crimea, the Associated Press previously used the dateline “SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP),” but has now decided to use “SEVASTOPOL, Crimea (AP).” “Ukraine no longer controls Crimea, and AP datelines should reflect the facts on the ground,” the Associated Press said, adding that the change is consistent with how they “handle geographically separate parts of other countries,” such as with “PALERMO, Sicily (AP).”