Visualising your UK constituency


The UK general election is fast approaching. Following the first almost-debate of the would-like-to-be Prime Ministers the battle for the ‘correct’ interpretation of the state of the nation has come into its final stage. Statistics are easy to twist, and there is never an absolute truth in them. In a collaboration with the Office for National Statistics I was involved in the creation of a little interactive visualisation feature that sheds light on some key statistics that show life in the constituencies around the country. Using a conventional map and a hexagon cartogram of the United Kingdom we looked at house prices, income, public sector employment, education, age, migration, and health which can be interactively explored and compared in both map views. The following map is one example from that feature, showing the share of people not born in the United Kingdom:

Cartogram and map showing the share of the population born abroad in the United Kingdom
(click for larger version)

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Sheffield – A City in Context

A City in ContextWhat happens if you lock two creative people and three geographers in a pub, pour some statistics about their city over them and let their mind work out the rest? You could find out the result at this year’s Festival of the Mind of the University of Sheffield that went on for 10 days throughout Sheffield. Nick Bax and Daniel Fleetwood of Humanstudio were the two creative minds that teamed up with Carl Lee of Sheffield College and Danny Dorling & myself from the University of Sheffield to take a look at the impact of higher education on the city in a slightly unusual way. The result of this collaboration is the short film ‘A City in Context‘ viewed during the festival and now available online. Continue reading

Mapping the global village

Changing times was the title of a session at this year’s Annual Symposium of the British Cartographic Society (not to be confused with the Society of Cartographers which will have its annual conference in September).
My contribution as a speaker in this session was titled Changing views of a changing planet. In the presentation I took a look at how changes in data and technology can provide alternative ways of mapping a globalised world, and mapping cities as the hotspots of globalisation. Continue reading

Shared rain

This April has been the wettest April on record in the UK, while parts of the country are also in official drought – leading to headlines of the wettest drought on record.
The miserable weather was (is) a good opportunity to finally produce a high-resolution version of the map series that I created during my PhD research and which I presented at last year’s conference of the Society of Cartographers in Plymouth. Continue reading

57 million deaths

People are dying all the time. Wars are just one of the many causes of death, but certainly one of the more avoidable ones. WHO’s Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study is the key publication containing global health statistics which can help to understand the relevance of geography in relation to the mortality patterns and the prevalence of certain diseases. Continue reading

Where does it always rain on us?

Map Animation / Gridded Population Cartogram of Rainfall (Precipitation) patterns in relation to people

Does it never rain in Southern California? And can we find the rain in Spain mainly in the plain? And what does that all mean for the people living in these places? Where does rain matter most for the population? In some places, it can be a much needed scarcity, elsewhere it appears in a much dreaded surplus. Wherever it is falling, rain matters a lot where people are. Partly, the global population distribution can be explained by climate patterns, with rain being a crucial factor for the agriculture in a region. In my presentation for the delegate’s session at this year’s 47th annual meeting of the British Society of Cartographers in Plymouth I took a closer look at the weather, or to be more precise, at climate patterns and their visualisation using gridded cartograms. Part of the presentation was an animation showing the global precipitation patterns projected on a gridded population cartogram. The following map shows the annual precipitation in relation to the global population distribution. The small map inset gives the conventional view of the same data, demonstrating how the perspective changes when seeing the same topic from two different views: Continue reading