So you think you know about the United Kingdom?

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For those not living in the United Kingdom it sometimes is a bit confusing what this strange little island next to Europe is all about. There is the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and there are England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There is Westmister, but also Holyrood and the Welsh and Northern Irish Assembly. A lot of confusing responsibilities for such a small island.
The following series of maps shows the United Kingdom and its different countries in a series of population cartograms and explains the different countries that it consists of. Continue reading

Not as patchy as it looks: Higher education institutions in the UK

Despite the apparently inequitable clustering of universities in certain hot spots across the UK, the correlation between where people study and the distribution of the general population is surprisingly strong. This analysis focussed on the mere geographic distribution and size of UK Universities rather than taking additional features such as quality of teaching or research into account, but already provides an interesting insight into how these institutions are spread in relation to the population:Location and size of universities (by 2011-12 student numbers) on a gridded population cartogram
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The Worldmapper Rainbow

A question often asked about Worldmapper is in regard to our choice of colours for the different regions and countries. On the website we briefly explain that the colours used on the maps group the territories into 12 geographical regions, and allow for an easier visual comparison between the maps than would otherwise be possible. The shading of each territory within a region is consistent throughout all of the maps.” But there is a little bit more to the colours which tell a story about the unequal fortunes of the world which follow a general pattern along the major regions.
The colours of the world’s regions are chosen very consciously, and have a deeper sense behind their distribution. We split the world into twelve contiguous geographical regions of population groups, with every region being roughly symmetrically balanced and having at least a population of one hundred million people. This is how the world’s population is distributed:
World Population Cartogram Continue reading

Born abroad: A look at the Population of the UK

According to a BBC News feature, “trends in migration are changing. Once, migrants from the same country tended to cluster in areas where they had relatives or friends. But new maps of England and Wales, reveal that for more recent migrants this is no longer the case” The maps of which this quote speak are a short series of cartograms created in collaboration of the BBC with the University of Sheffield in which we took a look at the first set of data from the 2011 Census in the United Kingdom (with much more detailed statistics due early next year). This is how some of the trends analysed by the BBC look like, using a gridded population cartogram of the country as a basemap for the lower maps shown here:

Cartogram / Map series of people born abroad according to the 2011 UK Census

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High Speed 2: Connecting people

The British government announced a £9.4bn package of investment in the railways in England and Wales today, which – if it is realised as proposed – adds to the recent efforts to bring the motherland of rail transport up to the standards of many other countries around the world. The announcement comes in a year in which another major railway infrastructure project is widely discussed in the United Kingdom: “High Speed 2 (HS2) is a planned high-speed railway between London and the English Midlands, Northern England, and potentially the central belt of Scotland” (see Wikipedia).
Phase 1 of HS2 has been discussed widely earlier this year, after the latest route plans from London Euston to Birmingham/Lichfield were proposed as part of the HS2 public consultation.
The detailed route proposal shows the geographical location of some of the most critical parts of the line that has some considerable opposition amongst various interest groups. While a high speed rail network requires space for the fastest legs of the journey – usually to be found in the countryside – the shorter parts of the line are not without problems either: As the line connects the most populous areas of the countries, it has to go through some densely populated areas as well, which are less visible on the overview maps of the project (another map is featured on the BBC website). The following map therefore takes advantage of the fisheye perspective of a gridded cartogram that shows the proposed HS2 (phase 1) route plotted on an equal population projection map. The map also includes the average speeds in an area, demonstrating the (obvious) slowdown effect of densely populated areas, mainly London and Birmingham as the main destinations that this line connects in the initial stage. The map also shows nicely how the fastest part of the journey squeezes through the least populated corridor between these areas, and it also gives an impression of ‘travel time’, i.e. where one spends much of the time in a high speed train. Its not the landscapes that fly past the window while travelling at highest speed, but the urban landscapes that one creeps along quite slowly when leaving and approaching the major cities:

Cartogram / Map of the proposed High-Speed 2 railway line in the UK
(click for larger version)

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The Human Shape of Britain

The British monarchy is celebrating the 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II as the official head of state of the United Kingdom. The British Monarchy reaches beyond the boarders of the United Kingdom, making the Queen a constitutional monarch of (currently) 16 countries of the 54 members of the Commonwealth. Celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee will therefore not only be a matter of British subjects, a term which adds to the sometimes confusing geographical realities related to Britain. The epicentre of the events is of course the United Kingdom, especially the capital city London where the celebrations peak this (extended) weekend. The media is well prepared to get the global attention aligned to London ahead of the Olympics. In ongoing difficult economic times these upcoming events are a welcoming distraction for politicians to keep the population quiet.
To put the people back at the centre, here comes a new look at the population of the United Kingdom. The following map builds on the gridded population cartogram that I published on this website before (e.g. at this comparison of a choropleth density map and a cartogram, in this report of the Royal Commission, at this comparison of the different parts of the UK, or in this first London feature on this website). The new gridded population cartogram is a revised version using a much higher resolution population grid like in this population map of Germany. The data comes from the LandScan database which allows to map even more detail in the population distribution, which is why this new map shows a higher variation of population densities within the most densely populated areas. The map is the most detailed gridded population cartogram of the United Kingdom produced so far, which allows us to see even smaller cities in their population context. The map is an equal population projection where each grid cell is resized according to the number of people living there. It shows human shape of the United Kingdom in HD resolution as never before:

High Resolution Map / Gridded Population Cartogram of the United Kingdom
(click for larger map)

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