Europe in Bubbles

Countries by territory
By creating thematic maps, distorted spatial relationships are generally avoided. However, in some cases, e.g. when handling large amounts of data or to avoid distraction by detailed spatial features, mapmakers intentionally distort the space based on attribute values. The resulting cartograms, often referred to as value-by-area maps, anamorphated images or simply spatial transformations, encode the mapped data in a simple and efficient manner. That is why they play a prominent role in „Human Cartography“, where area cartograms are often used as equal population diagrams. These have become increasingly popular – in particular since the publication of the „Atlas of the Real World“ by Dorling, Newman and Barford in 2008.

For Europe in Bubbles the data is depicted as the „Dorling cartogram“. Instead of enlarging or shrinking the original choropleths themselves, the objects are replaced by a uniform shape, e.g. a circle, of the data-adjusted to size. To avoid overlapping, which normally happens because small enumeration units represent relatively large figures, the symbols are moved the shortest distance away from their true locations in an iterating process, maintaining neither shape, topology nor object centroids.

Data sources:

  • Population, GDP, Area – http://databank.worldbank.org/Data/Home.aspx
  • Carbon dioxide emissions – http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx
  • Inbound tourism – Arrivals – http://data.un.org/
  • General government gross debt – http://www.imf.org/
  • Oil consumption, Labor forces – https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/rankorderguide.html