National Geographic’s new Southeast Asia map is a detailed, classic-style, large-format reference map containing detailed bathymetric data and current political boundaries, as well as thousands of place names. Also shown are the region’s updated infrastructures, including major oil fields and pipelines; high-speed passenger railway lines; and even China’s spaceport, Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Significant cultural and historic sites, such as Angkor, Cambodia, a renowned UNESCO World Heritage site, also appear on the map.
National Geographic cartographers worked hard to ensure that the Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South China Sea were portrayed on the Southeast Asia map. Although almost uninhabited, these groups of disputed islets and reefs—often reported on by the media—occupy a position of strategic importance. Our portrayal of such disputed territories, two of just over 100 territorial disputes worldwide, continue to reflect National Geographic’s policy of mapping de facto situations existing at the time of a map’s publication; that is, portraying a current reality using our best judgment.