Senior Editor’s Column
With respect to the Voice’s article “The Successes and Failures of the MMES – And What They Caused,” the author of the article (William Tomsett) has made some basic historical misinterpretations. Contrary to his assertions, the MMES was an utter failure that contributed nothing to the advancement of micronational cartography. Further, the author attempts to glorify his role in the MMES with an almost Stalin-like calculated ignorance of the near-criminality of his “leadership” initiatives.
In his article, the author asserts that the Micronational Map and Economy Service (MMES) was “the group that had the courage to stand up to the [Micronational Cartography Society – MCS] a feat that the [Geographical Standards Organization – GSO] only undertook a few months later, after years of planning.” First, the MMES cannot be called “the” group that stood up to the MCS because it had done nothing different from other cartographic groups in the past with respect to its relationship with the MCS. Indeed, years prior to the MMES, which in reality had a very small impact on the wider intermicronational community, the Alternate Realities world map project brought together the major micronations of the day in a combined effort to provide direct competition to, what they saw at the time, as a corrupt Micronational Cartography Society. Second, if the author did extensive research as he touts in the article, he would know that the Geographical Standards Organization development was a period of months prior to its August 2006 founding, not years. The author clearly misstates what is a simple, and easily accessible, fact in order to glorify a cartographic organization that was the least important such organization of the decade-to-date in the Anglophone Micronational Community.
Further, the suggestion that the MMES was an inspiration for the Geographical Standards Organization may be more of a pipe dream than reality. A number of the key architects involved in the GSO became so-inclined because of their experience of years of being members of the MCS, combined with the consensus that despite the shake-ups of the past (including the aforementioned Alternate Realities project), and subsequent reforms, the MCS had been unable to change. Further, the desire to have a cartographic society that was governed by its members directly – a desire that predates the MMES by many years as well – was a key motivator, especially given that Orion Ilios’s iron grip on the MCS map stonewalled attempts by member nations to improve it. On the issue of wanting a consistent mapping simulation that mirrored geographic fact, which the MCS did not offer at the time, Anthelia’s John Darcy was a strong advocate and perhaps the major force behind the creation of the GSO.
Historical reality dictates that the Alternate Realities world map had more of an influence on the development of the Geographical Standards Organization than the MMES (both had little influence actually). For its little part, the Alternate Realities project set the precedent for high-quality cartographic imagery in the community through its use of the Auto Realm program. The successful use of this program by Alternate Realities is the direct reason why the GSO uses the same program today for its maps. On the other hand, the MMES maps were of extremely poor quality and an excellent example of how not to make a simulated world.