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A map that cost his life


I am referencing this from another blogger, which can be read here, who got the information from Wikipedia, which can be read here.

This Korean cartographer, Kim Jeong-ho (김정호) wanted to create an accurate map of Korea and so he literally walked the entire peninsula through mountains and across obstacles to do so. Upon completing the map, he gave it to the Korean regent (like a proxy king) Heungseon Daewongun (흥선대원군), who viewed as sensitive information that would clue foreign aggressors to Korean defenses. As the story goes, he subsequently had the hapless cartographer jailed and beaten. He eventually perished in prison.

One should note that this was a period of great foreign expansion into Asia, from the Opium Wars (鴉片戰爭) in China to Japan’s sudden expansion after the Meiji Restoration (明治維新-the line that produced Hirohito and is still the royal lineage). All of this effected Korea deeply, with encroachment from the Japanese, Chinese, French, Russians and even the Americans. The regent felt that this information could not afford to be put into general circulation so the motivation is clear. I am not sure if there weren’t alternative means of dealing with the issue that beating a mapmaker senseless, but who am I to judge?

The map is indeed impressive.

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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