Friday, May 26, 2006

The World Isn't Flat

"Tourists are very fickle beasts, even the perception that a destination is risky will lead to a marked decrease in tourist traffic."
-- Howard Rosenzweig 2003, quoted in
The world isn't flat. It's of varying size, depending on what you're looking for.

At least, that's the perspective of cartographers at World Mapper who are in the middle of preparing a collection of world maps with land masses re-sized to reflect statistical realities.
"The maps presented on this website are cartograms, otherwise known as density-equalising maps. The maps of the world you are used to seeing attempt to represent countries according to their land area. A cartogram re-sizes each country (or other geographical unit) according to some other variable - for example population, GDP, number of people with AIDS, etc. In the population example, densely-populated country such as the UK will appear much larger than it does on a standard map, and sparsely populated countries will appear smaller."
To date, they've completed a little fewer than a hundred world maps covering such subjects as immigration, petroleum exports, new patent activity, railroad passenger usage, etc. etc.

Still to come later this year, they say, our favorite category:

Natural Disasters
  • Persons Killed
  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanoes
  • Drought
  • Floods
  • Storms
  • Mud Slides
  • Extreme Temperatures
  • Infestations
We can hardly wait.

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