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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London’s Vote 2012

The old Mayor is the new Mayor of London as Boris Johnson secured a second term in office at this month’s election in the British capital. This left contender Ken Livingstone in second place at a campaign that was put the two personalities more into the spotlight than the underlying politics. Beyond the decision between Boris and Ken the elections provided an insight into how much the political patterns have changed since the last election in 2008. As a comparison to the feature published before the election, I created the same map series from the 2012 election results, giving an updated view of the political landscapes of London of all contestants and their respective political parties. This year’s election saw fewer candidates and resulted in a more polarised picture between the two main parties (Conservative and Labour) and the smaller ones. Nevertheless, the individual vote distributions of all participating parties (and candidates) result in specific patterns that correspond to the preferences of the population in London. Majorities of votes from each part of the political spectrum – from right to left wing views – are significantly distributed, not only when it comes to differences between Labour- and Conservative strongholds, but also for the smaller parties, as the following map series demonstrates by mapping the individual vote shares accordingly. The results are displayed on a gridded population cartogram of London (election data provided by London Elects):

The 2012 London Mayoral Election in Maps(click for larger view)

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Demographic Trends of Greater London 2001-2031

Re-Mapping London
Population Map of the United Kingdom (Gridded Population Projection)Demographic trends in the United Kingdom, such as these discussed in the report on Demographic Change and the Environment, show an ongoing population growth in the south-east of England. With London being the dominating city in the UK’s economy, this is little surprising, as key industries but also most key institutions are still located in the capital city. This is one major reason why the southeast is like a population magnet that will have to find strategies to cope with an increasing population if these conditions persist. Demographic trends do also predict a slowdown in population increase over the next decades, with an aging society and declining birth rates as they can already be observed in Germany or most Easter European countries. All trends include challenges for policy making and planning, which is why population projections play a key role for urban planners to face future challenges in their decision-making. The Greater London Authority as the key administrative body for the most populous area in the UK (see map) released such projections on borough level to the year 2031, including population estimates for the past years (see London Datastore) which I have used for some of my research recently. Following a series of population maps created from this data by Spatial Analysis I used this data to create a population cartogram animation for the 30 years covered by this data which shows the changing shares of the population within the boroughs of Greater London, including a colour code for the net migration (taking population change, births and deaths into account). This is how the London population trends look like: Continue reading

In Focus: The General Election 2010

Political InsightA map showing the detailed results of this year’s General Election in Great Britain is now featured in the “In Focus” section of Political Insight journal (September 2010, Volume 1, Issue 2). The accompanying article written by Danny Dorling and me includes a brief analysis of the swings in the new Parliament at Westminster.

Here are the bibliographic details:
Election Map 2010 Thumbnail image

  • Dorling, D. and Hennig, B. D. (2010). In Focus: General Election 2010. Political Insight1 (2): 72.
    Article online (Wiley)

More election maps can be found here.
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.

General Election 2010: The swings that did matter

We have seen and heard a lot about the election outcome, not only on this website (here, here, here, here and here), but one more map: The following hexagon map (see here for a comparison of the different map types we are using) shows the changes that have actually taken place in the constituencies. The colour scheme indicates where seats have changes between the parties, and where they remained the same. For a clearer picture, the national parties in Scotland (SNP) and Waled (PC) have been put together under one colour.
This map is also available as a kmz file for GoogleEarth and other compatible software, which allows to zoom in and identify constituencies (a geographical version of the map is also included in the file).
GoogleEarth kmz file Click here to download the kmz file (15MB)

General Election 2010: Hexagon map of the results and changes in seats
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General Election 2010: Different views

The following three map show different ways of mapping the British election results in comparison. The left map uses a traditional projection (using the British National Grid), which represents the geographical area and thus overemphasises the vote of rural areas (making blue much more dominant than the real results are). The map in the middle uses hexagons to represent the constituencies, so that this map distorts land area in favor of a representation of seats in the British Parliament. This kind of visualisation has recently become very popular in the media and is now a common feature on most online election maps (like the BBC one). The right map shows the election results on the gridded population cartogram, which has been shown in more detail on this website before. Here the projection puts the population distribution in focus, so that this reflects best how many people are represented by a certain party. The overall picture is more similar to the constituency-based map than the land area map, however, is still shows some differences as constituencies are not exactly the same population size (for administrative reasons, but not least also because not all people in an area are entitled to vote). Each of the maps is useful for itself depending on what you want to know about the election outcome, as all three are telling a very different story of it.

Mapping the General Election 2010 in Great Britain(click for larger view)

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.