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Mapping world statistics ... proportionally

September 26, 2006

This might be cool for those hard-to-impress high school students who always do better with pictures than lists of numbers (as is true for most everyone else as well.)

'What if there were maps that showed information about countries in terms other than land mass? Worldmapper ( does just that. It has cartograms, or specialized maps, that re-size countries according to variables like population, GDP, number of passenger cars, etc.

Thus, China is larger than the United States on a map that shows exports of toys, but smaller on one that shows toy imports. There are 194 of these maps, with more being added all the time, and they give a fascinating visual representation of country rankings in everything from alcohol & cigarette imports, to meat exports, to container ports, to mopeds & motorcycles, to tourist destinations.'

WorldMapper has got to be the most useful mapping innovation I have come across ever since the Peter's Projection map helped me understand the northern hemisphere bias of the Mercator maps from my elementary school days. Prior to seeing the Peter's projection, I could never figure out why the equator was not in the middle of the map, when I knew it marked the middle of the world. The corrected perspective also did away with the visual distortion that led me to believe as a second grader that Greenland was as big as South America. Thanks Peters!

And thanks to whoever emailed me the WorldMapper suggestion! Keep them coming!