One of the themes in this blog has been the creative use of diagrams to represent statistical data. When the data are collected geographically this amounts to using maps to represent data – perhaps using colours or shadings to show how a variable changes over a region, country or even the whole world.
With this in mind I recommend to you @TerribleMaps on twitter.
It’s usually entertaining, and sometimes – though not always – scientific. Here are a few recent examples:
- Those of you with kids are probably lamenting right now the length of the summer holidays. But just look how much worse it could be if, for example, you were living in Italy (!):
- Just for fun… a map of the United States showing the most commonly used word in each state:
- A longitudinal slicing of the world by population size. It’s interesting because the population per size will depend both on the number of countries that are included as well as the population density in those slices.
- For each country in the following map, the flag shown is that of the country with which it shares the longest border. For example, the UK has its longest border with Ireland, and so is represented by the Ireland flag. Similarly, France’s flag is that of Brazil!
- This one probably only makes sense if you were born in, or have spent time living in, Italy
- While this one will help you get clued-up on many important aspects of UK culture:
- And finally, this one will help you understand how ‘per capita’ calculations are made. You might notice there’s one country with an N/A entry. Try to identify which country that is and explain why its value is missing.
In summary, as you’ll see from these examples, the maps are usually fun, sometimes genuinely terrible, but sometimes contain a genuine pearl of statistical or geographical wisdom. If you have to follow someone on twitter, there are worse choices you could make.