Into the big wide open: Think (twice) before you map!

A little bit from my archives which I never got around putting online before…here it comes: Last September I was invited to do a keynote at FOSS4G, OSGeo’s Global Conference for Open Source Geospatial Software. The event is the annual gathering of Open Source Geospatial Developers, Users and Leaders and was held at Nottingham’s new East Midlands Conference Centre, 17th to 21st September. The conference motto was ‘Geo for all’ because, as the organisers explain, “many people who work with geo software and maps find themselves becoming passionate advocates for the power of geography to make a difference: in government, business, travel, environment, crime reduction, social justice and communications to name just a few domains. Open Source Geo software makes this possible.
So how does a geographer, working with geospatial software but being less so a developer, address a huge crowd of people who are little reluctant to see themselves as geeks and nerds? Instead of pretending to be as clever as most of the audience I took a slightly different stance, trying to bridge the gap between those on the programming side and those on the applied side – two groups which sadly rarely speak to each other. Traditional cartographers often see their field of work undermined (and threatened) by computerised methods to generate mapping products, while coders very often find the obsession with minute detail and ‘artisan’ cartography annoying. If the two worlds would come a bit closer together, and both sides speak a bit more with each other, the world of cartography and geospatial visualisations could benefit so much more. Addressing a more technical audience, I concluded that we should all think a little bit more before we start mapping, and that we should give a good mapping project a little bit more time than we often do these days – but more importantly of course: We should never stop mapping. These are the slides of my talk, of course including many maps:

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From geovisualisation to neocartography: Maps in a digital world

The ICA Commission on Neocartography
Changing technologies have always had a considerable impact on cartography and continue to do so. Several technological revolutions marked important steps in the practice and process of creating maps. Mechanical, optical and photo-chemical technologies changed the way maps were produced. Then, the discovery of electronic capabilities made a new dimension in map production accessible: Not only most of the design techniques were transferred to digital platforms, used at some step in the production of almost all maps created today, but also the possibility to deal with huge amounts of data that can hardly be analysed by a single person enables cartographers to find ways to automate data processing for cartographic visualisation. This is where the term neocartography comes into play, which gives credit to the most recent trends in the field of map-making. Continue reading

Gridded Cartograms and the World Population Atlas

For this year’s 46th Annual Summer School of the Society of Cartographers I recalled the making of the World Population Atlas and wrapped all material up for some contributions for the meeting. The outcome are two new posters and a presentation for the delegate’s session:

The World Population Atlas: Showing the Human Shape of the Planet
Poster: The World Population Atlas
Poster: Gridded Population Cartograms: Drawing the Human Shape of the Planet
Poster: Creating Gridded Cartograms

The content on this page has been created by Benjamin D. Hennig. You are free use the material under Creative Commons conditions (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0); please contact me for further details. I also appreciate a message if you used my maps somewhere else. High resolution and customized maps are available on request.

A population-centric map projection

Here is some material from a presentation at this year’s  AAG Annual Conference in Washington DC. The presentation People powered maps: A population-centric map projection was given in the session on Topics in GIS, Remote Sensing, and Spatial Analysis and showed some new works on our grid-based cartograms (as presented at GISRUK 2009 and ESRI UC 2009).
The following animation shows the transformation of a topographic map of the United States, ending in a grid-based population cartogram (and then reversing). Please notice that loading the animation takes a while on slower internet connections:

USA Animated Population Cartogram with Topography
(click for larger view)

This is the full presentation given at the AAG Meeting. Please note that the animated parts such as the above animation are not shown in this Slideshare version:

The content on this page has been created by Benjamin D. Hennig. You are free use the material under Creative Commons conditions (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0); please contact me for further details. I also appreciate a message if you used my maps somewhere else. High resolution and customized maps are available on request.

Re-Mapping the World’s Population

My contribution to the ESRI UC 2009 found its way into the Winter 2010 edition of ArcUser:

  • Hennig, B.D., Pritchard, J., Ramsden, M., and Dorling, D. (2010). Remapping the World’s Population. Visualizing data using cartograms. ArcUser 2010 (1), 66-69.
    pdf icon Article as PDF ; Article online
  • The slideshow from last year’s talk at the ESRI UC Is now also available online to watch on Slideshare:

    The content on this page has been created by Benjamin D. Hennig. You are free use the material under Creative Commons conditions (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0); please contact me for further details. I also appreciate a message if you used my maps somewhere else. High resolution and customized maps are available on request.