The wonderful world of cartograms

April 3, 2007 at 3:00 am 1 comment

Cartogram Flickr by City Skip & University of MichiganI often check out Worldmapper – a collection of world maps that can be resized according to your subject interest. The maps dynamically change and are really fascinating examples of data visualisation. A cartogram is a map showing geographically, by shades or curves, statistics of various kinds.

So I decided to check out the subject areas that most interest me. Alas, no cartograms showing the penetration of knowledge management around the world, so onto other topics!

Here is the cartogram for forest loss. Worth noting that Worldmapper doesn’t refer to countries. They divide the globe into 12 regions. You can read about the colour codes they use for cartograms here. The bloated regions in the Forest Loss map demonstrate that between 1990 and 2000, 31% of forest loss occurred in South America (the Amazon by any odd chance?); 21% occurred in Asia Pacific; Africa lost 550,000 km2 in the 1990s.

Here’s the cartogram for commuting time to work, with the world average being 40 minutes per day. But the Thai people spend 2 hours per day travelling to and from work. I’d better move to Thailand considering I spend 4 hours per day!

This cartogram shows the projected global wealth spread in 2015: check out China and Africa. And just in case you ever wondered how many people have been killed by volcanoes, look at this. Remind me to take Colombia off my list of holiday spots because of all the people killed by volcanoes between 1975 and 2000, 86% died in Colombia.


Entry filed under: Cartography, Society, Web 2.0.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. lalida  |  April 3, 2007 at 9:15 am

    Dear Kim,

    I think your 4 hours per day and my 2 hours per day are very different. You travelled to and from work by train. Then you saw many trees, lake, factories, blah blah. But what I saw every morning and evening were a lot of cars on the streets!!!

    It took 2 hours though my house was 7 kms far from my office. Anyway, at present, we have sky train and subway. Life is better!!

    Lalida 🙂


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