Mapmaking nowadays isn't easy

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IMPRUNETA, Italy — It has been said that wars are a way of teaching geography. And maps are caught up in the strife.

“The problems of cartography are the same that exist in diplomatic relations,” said Stefano Strata, a co-director of Nova Rico, a company that has been making custom globes for 50 years in this small town near Florence better known for its terra cotta.

For mapmakers like Nova Rico, geographic disputes are commonplace. For a Turkish customer, Cyprus is shown split in two, a division that Greek Cypriots do not recognize. On one globe, Chile is given parts of Antarctica that on another globe go to Argentina. And in much of the Arab world, Israel is nonexistent.

The world of globes is quite small, and Nova Rico is one of the biggest and best-known companies in the business. It is also the only globe maker remaining in Italy.

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