As the primary cartographic organization for the Simulationist Internet Micronational Community, the Micronational Cartography Society (‘the Society’) has played a key role in the depiction of micronational territory since December 2000 through its Micras world map projection.
The popularity of the Micras world map amongst Simulationist micronations has often resulted in politically-charged accusations of misconduct and favouritism on the part of the Society’s executive, even resulting in the founding of rival cartographic organizations, such as the Geographical Standards Organisation. Often such accusations were a result of the Society’s leadership being perceived as insensitive to the requirements of certain member micronations or otherwise favouring others. These accusations resulted from the autocratic structure of the Society in its first six years. As a means of standardizing its treatment of all member micronations, in order to eliminate such accusations, starting with the leadership of former Administrator-General V.C. Vehendi, the Society began to implement reforms from 2007 onward to address concerns over the democratic-deficit within the organization.1
Vehendi’s reforms would soon be followed in subsequent years by policies designed to alleviate concerns over favouritism playing into the allocation of territory on the Society’s primary political map projection, which it calls the “Claims Map”. This map displays the amount of territory held by individual member micronations. The amount of territory held is often in flux as a means of assigned a level of relative diplomatic power to each micronation, based on the micronation’s performance across several indicators: cultural development, population, and activity levels1. The latter of these indicators is often the most referenced, and forms the basis for the analysis undertaken in this article.
The authority for the acceptance and modification of all territorial claims on the Claims Map lies with the Administrative Council (“the Council”) that Vehendi originally founded. The Council has since 2009 adopted a systematic approach to the granting of territory that is directly-correlated to the active presence of the applicant or member micronation. A micronation must provide evidence that it is an active online community to support its initial territorial claim on the map. The Council accepts evidence such as the existence of a forum, bulletin board, or mailing list, and a website.2
The active and regular use of a forum, or other similar social platform, is critical in the administration of territorial claims by the Society, forming the basis of a system that must cater to the demand for limited territorial land. Aside from intensively-detailed cultural projects, such as exploration narratives, the easiest – and most commonly utilized – method by which a member micronation acquires further territory on the Claims Map is by demonstrating a heightened level of activity (which may or may not reflect the micronation experiencing a population gain).2