May 22, 2011

Cuba on My Mind - Part II : Hitting the Geographic Jackpot

I have been assigned the task of researching and compiling our forthcoming map of Cuba. During the early stages of my research, I hit the cartographic jackpot—the possibility of two new provinces forming in 2011. Not only were we going to be publishing a map of Cuba for the first time since 1906, we were also going to be among the first to showcase its new administrative structure. This is considered an exciting event for cartographers here at the National Geographic. Why? Because before any element is mapped, we need to assure that it portrays the most up-to-date information.

My first stop was Cuba’s official government website. Unfortunately, it was a bit difficult to navigate, especially since the English version of the site was “under construction.” My next stop was the Cuban Embassy—well, not exactly since Cuba and the U.S. have not had formal diplomatic relations since 1961. But there is the Cuban Interests Section embedded within the Embassy of Switzerland here in Washington. It was there that I was able to obtain the official document (Gaceta Oficial de la Republica de Cuba, No. 023) spelling out the upcoming changes to Cuba’s new administrative divisions—Artemisa and Mayabeque provinces.

As Cuba is organized administratively by province and municipality, we were able to delineate the new provincial boundaries pretty easily by using a map of municipalities contained in the most recent Nuevo Atlas Nacional de Cuba. In the latter stages of my research I was able to reconfirm the delineation of these boundaries with the Cuban statistics office, La Oficina Nacional de Estadísticas, as they were now providing statistics for these two new provinces.

Now I have to keep abreast of the deepwater oil exploration off the northern coast of Cuba. If possible, we would like our map to also showcase the location of such prospective oil fields.

—Julie A. Ibinson
Map Researcher & Editor
National Geographic Maps


Denley said...

Great. I'm glad , National Geographic has plans to do a map of "Cuba", congratulations.
Interesting NatGeo sees fit to do a map of Cuba, before you huys can even get around to fulfilling your (previously announced for NLT "Spring 2011") release of the much awaited SD card maps for Florida, Alabama, Georgia, etc.
My $369.00 Active 10 GPS SatMap is nothing more than an expensive "paperweight" now, as you folks at NatGeo have (absolutely) once again NOT lived up to the promises you made to those of us who took you at your your word and purchased such an expensive device for hiking.
Some of "us" do live in Florida.
Seems logical to me that you "finish" what you (promised) started before sending your cartographers off to some 3rd world nation like, errr, ... CUBA?

Mike Dyer said...

Denley - We're sorry that you are frustrated. Please contact our customer service department at and we'll try and help you out. Have a good Memorial Day.