British Views of the World 2010

2010 is over. An interesting year that has seen the advent of a big society in Britain, some exciting sports events (and with retaining the Ashes, even England made a last-minute win), a lot of snow, and many other things to remember (and to forget). This time of the year is review time. In map-ish terms, cartography and maps appear to become more and more popular again, not least because there are so many people out there taking on the new open data that keeps leaking (mostly on purpose, but sometimes by accident…). Therefore, a review of 2010 in maps is inevitable, and James Cheshire did so on his website which is well worth a look (even if that may be a little British-centric): 2010 mapped.
And here comes my final map for 2010: A look at the British view of the world in 2010. To understand how British people perceive the events on the globe, one can look at how frequently a country has been mentioned in major news stories. The following maps do exactly this by visualising the number of news items on the website of the British Newspaper The Guardian (data derived from their Data store). Speaking of the Guardian, their website also features a nice interactive review-creator where you can create a personalised interactive review of this year – try it out if you feel that all other of the plenty reviews out there covered the wrong stories.
Here is the first map that also takes the domestic news stories from the United Kingdom into consideration – for obvious reasons the UK dominates this version of the map:

2010 Review: A worldmap of Guardian news
(click for larger map)

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Britain in Snow

Another winter, another big freeze in the United Kingdom and Ireland: This winter has started early and brought the first significant snow cover to the British Isles at the beginning of December. Coming with a breeze of Arctic air from the North-East, the snow made its way down to the south of Great Britain, with Aqua satellite catching this moment at a time when some parts of the South-West still managed to escape the icing. This image from the NASA’s Earth Observatory shows the snow lingered in Great Britain and Ireland on December 8, 2010 with a few clouds over Northern Ireland and the South-East of England. To show the impact on the people living there, I reprojected the image using the gridded equal-population projection which transforms the picture according to the population distribution. Especially the snow-free areas in the South as well as in the Liverpool-Manchester region strike out in the population projection, showing that at this time the most severe affected areas were the less populated (what then was about to change, with the second cold spell bringing much more snow and ice to the more populated areas of the UK just in time for Christmas):

The British Isles covered in snow December 2010
(click for larger map)

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In Focus: Government Debt

Political InsightA map showing the Europe’s government debt is now featured in the “In Focus” section of Political Insight journal (December 2010, Volume 1, Issue 3). The accompanying article written by Danny Dorling and me explains why the UK’s deficit is particularly high.

Here are the bibliographic details:
EU Government Debt 2010 Thumbnail image

  • Dorling, D. and Hennig, B. D. (2010). In Focus: Government Debt. Political Insight1 (3): 106.
    Article online (Wiley)

More debt maps can be found here.

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Wealth increase 2010-2015

Some recent maps on this website were closely related to the direct or indirect implications that the global downturn had on people’s lives across the globe: Be it the slowed-down but still growing carbon emissions, the poor state of well-being seen from a more sustainable point of view, or the distribution of wealth.
How this all related to each other has recently been commented by Peter Victor in Nature, who argues that “our global economy must operate within planetary limits to promote stability, resilience and wellbeing, not rising GDP” (Questioning economic growth, Nature 468: 370–371).
The previously published GDP map on the global distribution of GDP for 2010 and 2015 gives a good indication how little the distribution of global wealth has changed, and where the nations of the world are that may reconsider their attitude towards further growth. The map is less useful to see the dimension of changes and to see how little things have changed so far: The rich countries getting richer and the poor countries trying to catch up with these developments – and still, rising levels of global inequalities and further socio-economic disparities. This is shown in the following map, which displays the absolute growth derived from the GDP estimates for 2010 and 2015. The map thus shows the countries resized to the total growth that is expected for all countries in the given timespan and gives a clear picture of where the growth is largest (apparently, G20 countries dominate much of this cartogram. The colour key for the countries adds another dimension by showing the rate of growth reached 2015 compared to the level of 2010, an indicator that shows the most dynamic economies in the years to come – and those which kept on producing more carbon emissions despite the recession:

Map of global GDP growth 2010-2015
(click for larger map)

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Cancun Climate Change Conference

Climate change has hardly been on the agenda of global politics recently. It was the global downturn which keeps country leaders busy, and so prospects for the current climate change talks in Cancun (Mexico) to find a successive agreement for the Kyoto protocol appear quite poor. While the Copenhagen summit in 2009 was accompanied by large hope (and failed miserably), there are much lower expectations this year, although still some hope for a significant outcome.
It is interesting to look at the number of delegates which a country is able to send to the talks, as this reveals a lot about the interests of the nations that will succeed in the negotiations. The voices which will be heard are probably the voices of those who send the most delegates, riding roughshod over those nations which have fewer representatives. But the number of delegates may also reflect the importance that climate change has on the political agenda of a country.
During the next days the summit goes into its critical phase, with (perhaps) some world leaders appearing on stage to strengthen their voice – but will those voices from the most vulnerable countries be heard? This is the map of the number of delegates in this year’s climate change talks (data obtained from the UNFCC, the map has been cated in collaboration with UNfair play):

Cartogram / Map of delegates at the 2010 climate change conference in Cancun
(click for larger version)

And there is a lot to discuss in Cancun, not least because developments look bleak when looking at the latest figures on carbon emissions: A year ago on the occasion of the Copenhagen summit I published an updated map on the global carbon emissions. I also did a new map depiction modelling the carbon emissions onto a grid which gave a clearer picture of the geographical variation of these emissions. The figures back then were based on UN data for 2006, so that since than inevitably many inquiries came in asking for a more recent map.
Combining several data sources (mainly UNStats and IWR) and taking the just released Update on CO2 emissions (by Friedlingstein et al published in Nature Geoscience) we now updated our worldmapper base data to a consistent data set which allows us to draw a more recent picture of carbon emissions amid the economic recession. The map reflects the findings in the above mentioned paper: Despite the slowdown in global production, global emission rates continue to rise. The research also confirms a simultaneous development of carbon emissions and GDP, resulting in often only moderate reductions of emissions in most affluent countries and continued increases in many emerging economies. According to their estimates, 2010 may become the year with the highest anthropogenic carbon emissions in history – a new piece of history, just as the Kyoto Protocol. Did anyone say something about an economic crisis? What would the world look like without a crisis? Perhaps the next years will tell us…again. – Here is the updated map and below a short animation showing the slight changes from 2006-2009:

Carbon Emissions 2009:
Cartogram / Map of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions in 2009
(click for larger version)
Animation CO2-Emissions 2006-2009: Continue reading

Qatar – A Population Cartogram

High hopes of England have vanished on today’s draw of the forthcoming FIFA Football World Cup hosts, with Russia getting the event for 2018. More surprise was caused by Qatar which will be hosting the 2022 World Cup: With an area of 11,437 sq km and a population of approximately 1.7 million people, by far the smallest World Cup host in Fifa’s history.
In fact, Qatar is so small that we didn’t even bother to put up an individual map for Quatar in the Worldmapper World Population Atlas, but merged it with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain (Russia has its own map though, despite beating England’s bid).
With its new fame, Quatar’s population shall now get its own population cartogram which gives space to all the people living there and removes all those sandy areas in the south and west. Here is the Qatar gridded population cartogram:

Map of global GDP growth 2010-2015
(click for larger map)

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