September 22, 2010

Alternative Maps

World Consumption

By purposely distorting shapes in this cartogram, we see country size as a function of consumption (in this case, an average ecological footprint estimate). Poor, starving Africa is sickly skinny while the fast-food lovin', gasoline guzzlin' USandA looks like a fat, red bomb about to explode.

Doctor Accessibility

Doctor-to-resident ratios make up country shape. The use of numerical text is purposely overwhelming, and the prominent colour and size gradient gives a sense of the poor access to medical care in Sub-Saharan Africa. National statistics were used so larger countries like Russia, China, Canada are very general.

China Censorship

Again, text is used to here to give an impression of the overwhelming volume of items censored by the Chinese government. Desperately hidden among the censored words is the shape of red China that one might not see if they were too close. Looking more closely, certain words like 'Tianenmen' and 'Democracy' are centrally placed and repeated.

Air travels

A criss-crossing mess of arrows reveals the scale and magnitude of mobility among people in this truly global society. We are also able to see the nodality of this movement and the numerous common throughfares by which people travel, occuring primarily in the Northern Hemisphere.

Toscanelli 1474

Primarily known as a cosmographer (star mapper) and mathematician, this brilliant Italian is also credited with providing Columbus the map showing a route westward to Asia. Unfortunately, he grossly miscalculated the curvature of Earth and left out an entire hemisphere.

Soccer on the moon

The extent of travel by Neil and Buzz fits nicely into this soccer pitch, a familiar and recognizable size reference for those wishing to know what they did over there. It seems to belittle the enormous distance traveled by the astronauts to their destination and mocks the efforts of the Space Race by comparing the lunar landing with that of schoolyard game.

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