Friday, June 4, 2010
You may or may not be familiar with Worldmapper. It's a project that originated from the Social and Spatial Inequalities research group at the University of Sheffield, to create maps where geographic territories can be sized according to a whole assortment of other metrics, like population, literacy, income, etc. The resulting graphics are called cartograms and Worldmapper now offers almost 700 of them. Together they provide a fascinating visualization of global issues.
On a recent visit to the website, I discovered gridded cartograms. A uniform grid is imposed on a geographic territory and then each square is sized according to the value of a particular metric. This gridded mapping creates a way more nuanced representation than the traditional cartogram, which assigns a single value for each country. It also allows for analysis within one territory.
Here are some grid-mapped populations. A country like Italy, say, whose population is rather dense throughout, will look very much like its geographic shape, while Brazil (above), has quite a different story to tell.