Celebrate Diversity: Eurovision 2017

While the motto of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest‘s motto ‘Celebrating Diversity‘ was not a reference to the European Union’s motto, it has not been without controversy either. And also the wider geopolitics of the event caused some tensions, first and foremost over a controversy between the host country Ukraine and Russia.
Putting geopolitics aside, the performances were widely regarded as a celebration of diversity. Portugal – rather uncontroversially – is seen as a deserving winner, having scored 758 points for the song ‘Amar Pelos Dois’ performed by Salvador Sobral. The following cartogram shows all countries who participated in the final round of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest resized according to the total number of points received:

Map of the Eurovision SOng Contest 2017
(click for larger version)

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Eurovision 2013 revisited

Eurovision 2013 revisited

Year after year in May Europe meets to celebrate one common guilty pleasure: the Eurovision Song Contest. More important in the outcome than watching the singing performances is the voting procedure: It sometimes appears as if points are not always related to the performance, but a reflection of European history and current events. That makes it interesting for detailed analyses (such as this detailed one by students of the Technical University of Denmark) regardless of whether one agrees with the quality and style of the contributions. The upcoming song contest takes place in Copenhagen, as Denmark was last years winner which can be seen in the following map of the total votes that each country received in the 2013 contest (see the bottom of this post):

Total Points received by each countryEurovision 2013
(click for larger version)

But there is more to the results than the overall picture of the votes (Sidenote and warning: This blog post has a large number of maps embedded and may take longer to load up when viewing). Continue reading

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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European Identities: The 2013 Eurovision song contest

Political InsightThe Eurovision song contest voting patterns is a popular theme for the analysis of European identity and culture. In an article for the “In Focus” section of Political Insight (September 2013, Volume 4, Issue 2) Dimitris Ballas, Danny Dorling and I looked at the voting patterns of this year’s contest that was held in Malmö (Sweden). It has long been argued that there are clear patterns based on geographical region as well as cultural and linguistic bonds and there has typically been labelling of groups of countries that give their votes to each other as ‘blocs’ such as the ‘Scandinavian bloc’, the ‘Mediterranean’, ‘Western’, ‘Eastern’, ‘Scandinavian’, the ‘Balkan’ bloc etc. It can also be argued that political considerations may also affect these voting patterns and this may be particularly interesting in the recent Eurovision song context with voting patterns possibly influenced by the on-going political and economic crisis in the European Union (EU). This map series puts a focus on those countries being closely associated with the EU, either by being current members or official candidate member states (or official potential candidate for EU accession) and/or signed up to any of the following agreements: European Economic Area, the Schengen Zone, the European Monetary Union. The maps are based on European states that currently meet at least one of these criteria, leaving the remaining participants of the song contest aside.

Map of the 2013 Eurovision Voting Patterns

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It’s all about money

Financial meltdown, recovery, inequality, injustice. Doom and gloom everywhere. But the world has been a strange place before, and it is very much about money. The following music video assembles a showcase of worldmapper maps to the lyrics and music of Money, a song by N.A.S.A. feat. David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge & Z-Trip:

Money – Worldmapper Edition

There is a HD version available on YouTube, where you can also access the full accompanying lyrics as subtitles.

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