Daniel Schweer, San Diego State University
Finalist, $200

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Earth in Reverse Map

Thank you very much for viewing my map. I made this map to show what Earth would look like if elevation values were flipped, turning the highest mountains into the deepest parts of the ocean, and vice versa. This results in huge landmasses containing large seas, or small oceans. Since water is such a huge part of the workings of the Earth-system, it is bizarre to think about how different this reversed Earth would be, especially considering patterns of climate and life. The shape of the land would also be strikingly different, with vast flat plains, and mountains that far exceed the highest points of the Earth that we are familiar with.

My tools to build this map were ESRI's ArcMap and Microsoft Paint, once I had sourced my data from NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center. I added the same data to ArcMap twice, so that I could manipulate the areas of land and sea separately. Using the attributes table, I multiplied each elevation value by -1, reversing the global elevation. Adding the data twice was also valuable when it came to selecting a color ramp, as a single ramp would have been unable to show variance in elevation and depth in both the land and water areas. I used the WGS 1984 coordinate system, and favored a Mercator projection for several reasons. First, this projection preserves shape, so water/land bodies can be easily recognized. Second, and more importantly for me, the Mercator projection exaggerates area in higher latitudes, which yields more blue area on the map, increasing the map's believability and how pleasing it is to the eye. For several of the graphic operations, I employed MS paint. I turned the map backwards and upside down, not only to go along with the reverse theme of the map, but also to catch more of the viewer's interest.

Once again, thank you for viewing my map, I hope you enjoy it.