Created as a Google Maps "mashup," NUKEMAP allows you to pick a city, select the yield in kilotons — or an existing nuclear bomb in a superpower's arsenal — and see "what happens" when it goes off. The map was created by Alex Wellerstein.
We live in a world where nuclear weapons issues are on the front pages of our newspapers on a regular basis, yet most people still have a very bad sense of what an exploding nuclear weapon can actually do. Some people think they destroy everything in the world all that once, some people think they are not very different from conventional bombs. The reality is somewhere in between: nuclear weapons can cause immense destruction and huge losses of life, but the effects are still comprehendible on a human scale.
The NUKEMAP is aimed at helping people visualize nuclear weapons on terms they can make sense of — helping them to get a sense of the scale of the bombs. By allowing people to use arbitrarily picked geographical locations, I hope that people will come to understand what a nuclear weapon would do to places they are familiar with, and how the different sizes of nuclear weapons change the results.
There are many different political interpretations one can legitimately take away from such results. There is not intended to be a simple political "message" of the NUKEMAP.
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