« Held back by physics | Blog Main | Tracking Santa »

Fun with Maps

Remember how Pat was checking e-mail from the Main Street Cafe because she had no internet access? Well, she's back at the Cafe (and cursing out the cable company since her internet and cable are out again). So, it's two posts in a row from me!

My geek cred was established early on here at FairerScience but just in case it was ever in doubt, I present my latest evidence of geekdom: I think maps are really cool. Something about them appeals to my inherent love of order and being able to figure things out. About ten years ago, I moved from Massachusetts to New York and for about two weeks I was actually splitting my time between my old job at Curry College and my new job at Barnard College. I spent a lot of time of the train and I have vivid memories of sitting and studying my trusty, laminated map of Manhattan. The map helped me make sense of my new city and a new appreciation for maps was born.

So, I was naturally interested when I read about Worldmapper, a website connected with the new book, The Atlas of the Real World.

You could spend hours on this site, it features 366 maps, or more specifically, cartograms:

“The maps presented on this website are equal area cartograms, otherwise known as density-equalising maps. The cartogram re-sizes each territory according to the variable being mapped.”

The maps are fascinating and in some cases, pretty depressing.

For example, here’s a map showing the world based on the number of illiterate young women.

This map shows growth in scientific research:

They even provide code for you to work on making your own map. So go ahead, geek out with the maps.