This topic is quite personal for me. The Washington Post does not use 'stock' projections for any of their maps -- and
certainly none of the Mercator variety. All maps in The Post are custom made for each story unless an appropriate map
has been produced previously. Indeed, The Post graphics department has no less than 4 full-time cartographers on
staff at any given time. Let me emphasize, they are 'cartographers' -- not graphic generalists who also make maps, but
educated cartographers by profession. This has been the case for over three decades.
As for the lack of color in some of the water area, this is indeed an oversight not caught in the editing process. The
Post produces hundreds of maps every year. Mistakes happen on deadline and are corrected accordingly.
Abbreviations such as "FIN.", UKR" and "KAZ." are AP style and something all news agnecies follow for consitency.
However, the general rule often followed is that if there is room for a place name then it should be spelled-out.
As for the projections, the globe locator is likely a simple perspective view. The main map is either an equidistant or
equal-area projection -- the primary flavors of Post cartos -- hence a scale is entirely appropriate. The detail box is on
the globe is shaped that way because the two projections are independent and therefore show the same area in
different proportions. To be completely accurate, the outline of the detail box on the globe would follow the contours
of the projection itself.
All of this said, based on my knowledge of how Post cartographers and news artists work, this particular map was not
produced by a Post cartographer. Possibly a news artist or one of the artists at the website as it does not meet the
typical standards for a Washington Post map. Notable is the lack of detail in the line-work of the main map -- far too
generalized -- and the afore mentioned color issue and abbreviations.
Lou Spirito -- Former Washington Post Cartographer and Senior News Artist, 1997-2001 & 2003-2005
-- Louis Spirito (email)