The United Nations works hard creating vast tables of data showing everything from traffic fatalities to at-risk mollusk species. The trouble is, that data is vastly boring. It may have an effect on UN policy, but it certainly won't have an effect on the average person.
But now it just might. The geeks at WorldMapper.org have created a system that graphs this UN data into maps. Suddenly he data become ridiculously simple to understand. The map above, with the over-inflated United States and Japan, you might have guessed, shows CO2 emissions per country. One of the most fascinating things I discovered is how closely that mirrors the map of wealth per country. The map below, on the other hand, shows population (we don't know why Antarctica shows up at all, but there you have it.)
The project is run by Danny Dorling and Anna Barford of the University of Sheffield, UK and they already have over three hundred maps. Aside from being an extremely fast way to brief yourself on the state of the world, it's also simply fascinating. The statistics on teenage mothers blew me away, and the series on centers of world wealth from 2000 years ago to 2015 on tells a story that couldn't be told in 100,000 words.
It's becoming clear that understanding data is much more important than simply having data, so we're happy to applaud worldmapper's efforts. Now that we can see the problems clearly, there's nothing in the way of all the affected countries actually doing something about it, right?
written by Alyson, September 02, 2008
written by Alex Yule, September 02, 2008
written by Audi, September 02, 2008
written by Kevyn, October 01, 2008
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