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Cartocacoethes was a term first coined by John Krygier from the Making Maps blog to describe a mania, uncontrollable urge, compulsion or itch to see maps everywhere.

The cartographic equivalent to seeing Jesus in burnt toast, the terminology is a concatenation of the greek word for map (khartes) and cacoethes, a Greek word meaning “an irresistible urge to do something inadvisable.”

Australia in a puddle

Australia in a puddle?
Australia in a puddle? Source: Army newspaper, Australia’s Department of Defence, 2005.

The Australian Department of Defence published this photo in 2005 in its newspaper, Army, writing “ADF personnel deployed to Sudan were given a unique reminder of their island home with a picture on a track. Rain left this mud map in potholes, bearing a striking resemblance to Australia.”

Read next: Here Be Dragons: The Facts and Fictions of Mapmakers

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Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.