This one has everything: Cartography, Climate Change, Southern Louisiana, John McPhee.
Cartography, as Snead explains it, requires navigating tensions between precision and compromise. The 2000 map, he explained, is “‘official’ because there is an act of the legislature that says the Department of Transportation will produce an official map of Louisiana. And you should be aware that the legislature is full of politicians.” Elected officials, according to Snead, are not so concerned with the map depicting an accurate coast as they are with the visibility of the public works projects, like highways and canals, that signify their accomplishments. Complicating matters is the sheer expense of collecting the fresh data necessary to render a land-water interface perpetually on the move. As a consequence, the Louisiana map holds “a very generalized coastline,” according to Snead, that “is hard to draw even under ideal conditions. You have to have a very large scale to render it.”
"The legislature is full of politicians."
Who could have put that any better?