Death Penalty

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Amnesty International has launched its most recent report on Death sentences and executions in 2014. In their annual report they publish the minimum figures of recorded death sentences and executions that they are able to verify. For producing a Worldmapper-style cartogram, absolute numbers are essential of course, which requires some decisions to be made which numbers go into the map transformation. For the following two maps, showing the death penalty executions and sentences in 2014, the minimum figures of validated cases provided in the report were used, or, where these were not stated, the estimated figures as stated in the report were used instead (China was set to 1000 to not dominate the cartogram entirely, even if the number is believed to be much higher than that). The maps therefore need to be seen as a general picture of the state of death penalty in the world, rather than the exact reality. As stated by Amnesty, “the real number of people executed is much higher. There are no figures for China, for example, which is believed to execute more people than the rest of the world put together. Other countries like Belarus also execute prisoners in secret, often without informing the detainees’ relatives or lawyers.”

Map of death penalty executions in 2014
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The Evolution of Life Expectancy in the World

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Life expectancy equals the average number of years a person born in a given country would live if mortality rates at each age were to remain constant in the future.” (Wikipedia)
Depending on the exact sources, global life expectancy currently lies at approximately 71 years although a global estimate tells very little about the differences between the countries. What applies to every country is the fact that women, on average, live longer than men.
The following map shows the distribution of life expectancies based on national-level data as documented in the 2014 revision of the Human Development Report displayed on a gridded population cartogram in which every human gets an equal amount of space:

Gridded Population Cartogram showing Global Life Expectancy in 2013
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Swiss Leaks: A world of secret money and bank accounts

Last week the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a team of journalists from 45 countries, published leaked information about secret bank accounts at the Swiss branch of HSBC Private Bank.
The over 60,000 files relate to accounts holding more than $100 billion in total and provide information about more than 100,000 clients, their accounts and the amounts of money hidden in Switzerland, far away from their national tax authorities. The data was first given to the French government and the newspaper ‘Le Monde’ in 2008 already by a whistle-blower from HSBC and later shared with the ICIJ.
The two cartograms shown on this page reveal the global picture that emerges from the leaked data: They show the countries of the world resized according to the total number of clients and the absolute value of their accounts allocated to their respective country of origin:

Cartogram of the money held in secret Swiss HSBC bank accounts
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Wood-works: Mapping the world’s commercial forestry

While ‘sustainability’ is in everyone’s mouth – from academia to politics – few are aware that the term was originally shaped in relation to the early days of modern forestry: In the early 18th century, Hans Carl von Carlowitz coined the German word ‘Nachhaltigkeit’ which in a simplified way meant to ensure that enough trees were replanted to ensure the long-term existence of wood supplies (from where the term found its way into its broader meaning that we use it for today). While wood has for a long time been an important resource, it todays is also an important global trade product. In 2007 the FAO stated that “over the last 20 years international trade of forest products […] increased from US$60 billion to US$257 billion, an average annual growth of 6.6%.”
The following cartograms show different aspects related to forestry, including the production of wood for economic activity, the consumption of wood and wood-related products (such as paper), as well as global exports and imports of this (using data for 2011 by FAOstat):

Cartogram visualisations global forest production, consumption and trade
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Tsunami 2004: Ten years on

On December 26, 2004, at 7:58 am local time an undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 approximately 160 km west of the shores of Sumatra (Indonesia) and 30 km below the sea surface triggered tsunamis in the Indian Ocean. They hit the coasts of countries East and West of the epicenter, among them Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, the Maldives, the Seychelles, Myanmar, Malaysia, Bangladesh and reaching as far as Somalia and Tanzania on the African coastline over 6000 km away.
The coastal populations of the affected countries were hit the hardest, suffering deaths, injuries, displacement and the destruction of their livelihoods. Indonesia was affected most, with an estimated number of 170,000 casualties and approximately 500,000 displaced people. The following cartogram shows the distribution of the estimated 230,273 deaths allocated to the country where the deaths occurred, making each country as large as its total share of the people who dies at the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami:

Map of the distribution of people who died in the 2004 Tsunami
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Nativity map: The Census of Quirinius revealed

The first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke in the Bible state that the birth of Jesus took place at the time of the census: “In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered.”
Believing in the religious background of the nativity story or not, evidence for the Census of Quirinius following Caesar Augustus’ decree exists beyond the bible. However, despite all recent initiatives to open up public data, the Census results of back then have not seen the light of day…until now!
This Christmas we can reveal the results of the Census of Quirinius following a freedom of information request to the Roman Empire (well, and following some more in-depth analysis within the Worldmapper project using Angus Maddisons studies). This is how the world looked in the year 1 CE (3761 Hebrew calendar, 7.17.18.13.3 Mayan calendar, 544 Buddhist calendar):


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Wishing everyone a happy new year!

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