One of the hundreds of typical "small problems" encountered#

In collecting information we have learnt that even simple quantitative questions like "what is the area of a country in square kilometers" cannot be answered easily, since different countries measure in a different way: Some include lakes, others do not, some include ocean channels between islands, some do not, etc. There are also politial questions: Is Kosovo part of Serbia or not? Do the Kuril islands belong to Japan or Russia?, etc. We hope that with your help we can clarify the reasons for discrepancies in many cases. We also want to find further interesting material and possibly have a chance to not just verify quantitiative data but also of some of the narrative parts.

When we find discrepancies in numbers we list the various numbers with their sources. In some cases it should be possible to find out why the numbers differ (please help!) in others this might be an impossible job. That the variation of numbers depends also on the point in time, and the definitions involved, makes all this a more than challenging task that will never be fully completed. In this sense we cannot say that the data presented is reliable, yet where we find identical figures we do indicate so, raising the probability that the figures are correct.

In the first phase we just looked at a few concrete issues, of which we continue to mention the question of area of a country as one specific example:

We checked the size of countries by using data from 6 - 10 databases, and comparing those numbers against each other. If a single answer emerged, the number is shown in square kilometers. If numbers disagree to more than 1/10 th of one percent we show all figures and attempt in some cases to find out where the discrepancies come from.

In all instances we very much need the community for help: To correct and add information, to clarify situations we do not understand, etc. How difficult the situation is you can see from our early paper under the title Some Aspects of the Reliability of Information on the Web.

If you find information where you think that is violating some copyright, please inform us immediatley: we are doing our best to make sure that no copyright infringement happens, yet on a large server mistakes can never be excluded.

You even read the lower part? We are impressed!


Your Global-Geography Team, Jannuary 2018

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