Seeing the world a little differently: distorted maps and global views

Danny Dorling – Oxford University - UK

This lecture presents new ways of mapping the world, countries within the world and cities within countries. Space is deliberately distorted in these maps so that area is made proportional to what is actually of most interest. Often this is population. As soon as the base map is reprojected a very different impression of anything visualized on that map is produced. You literally see the world very differently. A country will change shape dramatically when areas are drawn in proportion to population and issues that were hidden in the densest parts of its city will come to the fore. The traditional domination of rural and unpopulated areas rescinds. The change to mapping like this has a similar effect to drawing graphs where you use the most sensible scales on the X and Y axis rather than the most simple scales. Suddenly you can see patterns and structure in the data you are looking at which you could not see before. Around the world, from China, to throughout Europe and across the USA cartographers are increasingly using these demographic and other projections to see what we already know about the world in a completely new light. To understand all this you need to see the images. Words are not enough.