Jason Sahler

Worldmapper Cartograms Revisualize the World

by , 09/01/08
filed under: Treehouses

worldmapper cartograms, communication design, world visualization, globe, visualization, map, planet, earth
CO2 levels in 2000

Whereas standard maps offer an approachable means of visualizing the world, Worldmapper‘s striking cartograms work the other way, de-stabilizing the earth as we know it while focusing upon some of the planet’s most vital topics. From population density to oil consumption and CO2 levels, these radically redefined maps incorporate data and figures to create a shifting series of unfamiliar landscapes that form excellent visual metaphors of their content.


worldmapper cartograms, communication design, world visualization, globe, visualization, map, planet, earth
The proportion of people that will start living in urban areas between 2002 and 2015

By making their maps malleable, Worldmapper trades cut-and-dried boundaries and delineations for a radically altered series of worldscapes that leave an immediate impression. Take a look at the map above and you can see our production of CO2 in 2000 – notice the bloated beasts of the industrial world are busting at the seams as they spew carbon into the atmosphere.

Data can be easy to manipulate, so the folks at Worldmapper are very upfront in providing the sources for their information and are open to opinions on how to better represent it. According to their website:

We are not experts on many of the subjects that we map but are aware that international data can be unsatisfactory and inadequate. By making such data more accessible, we hope to encourage the provision of good quality international data. If you have advice on how to improve it, please approach the organisation, given in the technical notes, providing our data. We would like to be told of secondary sources of data for territories where we have had to make estimates.

+ Worldmapper

Via WorldChanging

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6 Comments

  1. M2JL M2JL September 4, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    The scarier thing for me in what the CO2 level map will look like by 2015 if/when China and India are at the same level of consumption per capita as the Americans!

  2. doomscapes September 3, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Yeah, the last one map is just for reference comparing the rest of them.

  3. troymccluresf September 2, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    “Total Land Area”

    Isn’t that just… a map?

  4. Scott September 2, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    In response to Steve, I would argue that urban areas can be much more efficent that sub-urban and rural areas. Transportation distances get cut and it is possible to have more effecient houseing solutions with in regard to the amount of building material used. How do you mean that urbanization will lead to increased energy use?

    Regardless, these maps are very interesting. I am curious as to how they were made.

  5. christof.lapd September 2, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Wow, quite impressive!

  6. Steve N Lee September 2, 2008 at 3:47 am

    These are a great idea.

    I love that first one showing America – so greedy for oil and bloated from over consumption it looks like it\\\\\\\’s about to burst! Very apt!

    But, jocularity aside, these are quite scary. Urbanization looks to be a major problem for the future, which will lead to greater consumption of our scant resources. And poor old India looking fat and fit to explode and spew people everywhere because of over-population…

    Yes, scary reminders of just what a precarious position the human race finds itself in today.

    Steve N. Lee
    author of eco-blog http://www.lionsledbysheep.com
    and suspense thriller \\\\\\\’What if…?\\\\\\\’

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