Fun with maps

by Eszter Hargittai on September 17, 2004

The people behind this Web site are smart. Attract people with a fun quiz, show them what they don’t know and offer them toys to help improve their knowledge. You can take a little geography quiz on the site. I scored 9 out of 10, but was fairly lucky by having gotten this group of countries : Colombia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Samoa, United Kingdom, and Vietnam. I know I would have done worse depending on the region of the world most represented among my randomized list. Can you guess which one I missed?

Latvia. I placed it on Lithuania’s area. D’oh. In case you’re wondering why I know where Samoa is located, I lived in Hawaii for a while and although the two are about 2,600 miles apart, I think it’s fair to say they’re considered regional neighbors.;)

In light of Kieran’s last post, I should probably take a moment to thank the Academy.. oh no, wait, that would be missing the point of his post.. I would like to thank the Hungarian educational system for my above-US-average knowledge of geography, although beyond shoving a lot of facts down one’s throat I did not find it to be a particularly good system. Then again, it seems like it helps me do well on random online geography quizes so maybe I’m being too critical.

Hat tip: Neat New Stuff.



Steve Carr 09.17.04 at 7:38 am

Great link, Eszter. Now I have a way to waste time that will actually make me smarter. I’ve floundered so far, though. I realize this is hardly surprising, but the West African countries (of which for some reason I’ve been given a lot) have me at a loss.


bad Jim 09.17.04 at 7:48 am

It doesn’t seem to work with Opera 7.5 (Windows). Asked to locate Suriname, I found myself clicking back and forth among Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, unable to finalize a choice.

Faced with a host posting a 9 of 10 result, though, I’m relieved to be unable to compete.


Motoko 09.17.04 at 7:50 am

8/10. Nauru, “the world’s smallest independent republic“, and Micronesia…


Nick Simmonds 09.17.04 at 10:01 am

Bah. Dang ol’ Democratic Republic of the Congo messing up my perfect score. Countries shouldn’t be allowed to name themselves something that sounds just like a neighbor. At least Yemen and the People’s Democratic Republic of Same merged.


Matt McGrattan 09.17.04 at 10:45 am

Hmm.. 9 out of 10 for me.

Malaysia, Lesotho, Oman, Guinea, Ecuador, S. Korea, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Denmark and India…

Guinea threw me.. I ended up selecting Burkina Faso and I was pretty lucky with the others that came up [I probably wouldn’t have gotten Lesotho but happened to be looking at a map of that area recently].


Doug 09.17.04 at 11:06 am

Grrr … Congo vs Congo, Democratic Republic of the. Not that Congo was specified as Congo (Brazzaville) as is common usage. Next up, the 50 US states, with a listing for “Dakota.”

Otherwise confused Seychelles with Comoros, which I think understandable.


JR 09.17.04 at 11:42 am

10/10. First time I’ve ever been totally right about…anything.

If I was in the NBA, right now I’d let out one of those primal screams.

china, denmark, south korea, bahamas, russia, slovakia, tunisia, jamaica, thailand, haiti


Anthony 09.17.04 at 12:38 pm

6, 9 and 9. But once it said I’d clicked on Sudan instead of Bosnia. Frankly I resent the implication, and I will not be playing again (sniff).


Jeremy Osner 09.17.04 at 1:22 pm

7 out of 10 — I missed Laos, Slovenia, and Zambia.


bob mcmanus 09.17.04 at 2:39 pm


New Zealand,Cape Verde,Georgia,Taiwan,Bulgaria,Algeria,Finland,Niger,Papua New Guinea,USA

Missed Niger and New Guinea


BenA 09.17.04 at 3:05 pm


Korea, North; Iraq; Mozambique; Monaco; Mali; Fiji; Uganda; Argentina; Kazakhstan; Congo

(Confession: The first time I took it I missed Suriname — who can keep those three countries straight? — and Ghana)


David W. 09.17.04 at 3:08 pm

Hah, 10 out of 10 for me. (I have a B.S. in Geography, BTW.) I raised the U.S. score from 57.55 to 57.56! Yay team!


teep 09.17.04 at 4:58 pm

I suck: 3/10. Got Iceland, Belarus, Laos correct.

Totally failed to identify Eritrea, Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea, Macedonia, Comoros, Sudan, or Lesotho.


Jonathan Edelstein 09.17.04 at 5:37 pm

10, 10 and 10. The relative positions of the Pacific nations on the map seem a bit off, though; the quiz would work better if they were shown by their maritime boundaries rather than a dot on the capital. The DRC/Congo thing was also annoying, although I guessed correctly that “Congo” meant Congo-Brazzaville.


Ralph Hitchens 09.17.04 at 5:59 pm

I’d guess you missed Kazakhstan; hard to keep those “stans” straight. I got 10/10 but was phenomenally lucky to nail Suriname, Mauritania, and Sierra Leone. Easy enough to get in the ball park with those, but the “last mile” was pure guesswork.


will 09.17.04 at 8:00 pm


Right: Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cyprus, Turkey, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Namibia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein

Wrong: Kiribati

Yeah, I never bothered with S. Pacific geography.


Thomas Dent 09.17.04 at 9:32 pm

It didn’t seem very random to me.

I got Nauru *three times* (correct by chance!) and Paraguay and Greece twice.

Pacific islands do tend to make it more difficult – I also got handed Vanuatu and Tuvalu!

United Kingdom’s showing in the “medals table” is dismal…


Randy Paul 09.18.04 at 5:47 pm


God this thing is addictive. After several times at 90% I finally got 100% with the following nations:

Phillipines, Krygzstan, Dominican Republic, Oman, Niger, Finland (well, one should be a softball), Brunei, Latvia, Swaziland and Macedonia.


Alan K. Henderson 09.20.04 at 6:54 am

6/10. Missed Malawi, Turkmenistan, Vanuatu, Mauritius. Got Ireland, Germany, Cape Verde (easy one – I built a city there once in a game of Civilization II), Swaziland (process of elimination – I knew it was east sub-Saharan and knew almost all the surrounding countries), Myanmar, Angola. Not a single country in the Americas.


Cryptic Ned 09.20.04 at 6:15 pm

10/10; 10/10; 9/10; 10/10; 10/10. The only guesses were on Vanuatu and the Marshall Islands; a country like that shouldn’t be represented by a dot, considering that it controls an area about 800 miles square.

I got Eritrea, Libya, Bosnia, and Bangladesh on the 3rd test, and again on the 4th test. Odd.


Cryptic Ned 09.20.04 at 6:18 pm

During the ten minutes I spent on that site Hungary went from 1st to 15th, while the rest of the leaderboard was almost unchanged.

It must have just been linked on Maxim’s Hungarian website or something.

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