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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Rediscovering the World

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Wor(l)d Map by Benjamin D Hennig 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.

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.

    Gridded cartogram tutorial

    This is a short slideshow showing the basic steps that are needed to do your own gridded population cartograms (with a quite rough 1 degree grid – good for starting with this whole thing). Software needed for this simple click-through tutorial are ArcGIS and ScapeToad. If you want to go one step further, I’d recommend using the ArcScript Cartogram Geoprocessing Tool by Tom Gross, even though this is not featured in this demo:

    The tutorial was given in October 2009 to students of the Module GEO6016 Data, Visualisation and GIS in the MSc in Social and Spatial Inequalities at the University of Sheffield.

    German election: Into detail

    In the last series of maps we are now doing a more indepth look at the German general election results. The following maps are all based on the second vote (Zweitstimme) and map these in various ways. To get a more precise view on what the majority of people decided for on the ballot, this time more than one party is mapped. This makes the maps more complex, but with the distinct colour scheme they remain understandable and show the results in a more differentiated manner. Click each map to get a closer view (in these maps quite important as colours might appear blurry in the shrinked maps shown on this page).
    Except for the last two, all maps use the previously introduced population cartogram as their main projection, so that the proportions show the real population distribution.
    On the first map, the largest parties in each constituency are included up to at least 50% of the votes. Usually these are the 1st and 2nd largest party – only few exceptions can be seen in the south, where CSU managed to get more than 50% of the votes in some areas:

    Bundestagswahl: Erster und Zweiter Sieger (equal symbol) Continue reading