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The World as Flatland

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#1
Casey Greene

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Ran into this today on DesignObserver: The World as Flatland. It uses a unique way to represent data. Be sure to use the drop-down in the lower left hand corner.

The site seems to load fine in IE7 and Firefox, but not in Opera.
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#2
frax

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...and what do you think about it... ?
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JoeFraser

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It would be a better graph if information about China was included.

#4
DaveB

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I think it's kind of clunky, is too big for my screen resolution, and some of the categories are named oddly ("I love my country" = how much you are willing to "fight for it"?). Interesting data...
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#5
ELeFevre

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I think it's kind of clunky, is too big for my screen resolution, and some of the categories are named oddly ("I love my country" = how much you are willing to "fight for it"?). Interesting data...


Clunky describes this thing perfectly. Are the maps even necessary or useful? It would be more effective IMO to post ordered lists showing the data.



#6
Matthew Hampton

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I find the CIA Factbook to be much more pleasing with respect to finding information of different countries by ranking.

I don't think associating the the information to the geographical shape of the countries to be the best solution, and agree with Erin.

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#7
Casey Greene

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I hear you guys, they could have done better (where is Africa, Mongolia, etc? Why only show the top ten for each category? I cannot tell the difference in physical appearance between most of the smaller countries?). I do think though that this could potentially be a great way to show data online.

It seems like the classic Designer vs. Developer, right vs. left brain, Vignelli's map vs. the people of New York City. And who's really right?

The designers of the site probably should have closed up their Tufte books and consulted someone to see if their map and graphs would be useful, and not just functional. But it is a unique idea, and I like unique ideas. :)
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#8
natcase

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The designers of the site probably should have closed up their Tufte books and consulted someone to see if their map and graphs would be useful, and not just functional. But it is a unique idea, and I like unique ideas. :)

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I actually suspect Tufte would rip it apart: the amount of meaning conveyed by the "ink" of the country shapes is, well, nothing. The site shows variation among countries but besides being vastly incomplete in their listings for any category, the map-shapes imply physical relationships that have nothing to do with anything, let alone the physical outlines of the nations.

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#9
Casey Greene

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I actually suspect Tufte would rip it apart...


True-dat Nat, You are probably right, but who knows with Tufte. I was going more for effect with that comment then substance...Maybe i should get a job with the "The world as flatland" folks. :lol:

But I don't think that country outlines are irrelevant. Some people are "word people," and some are "graphic people." I am a graphic person. So, it is easier for me to digest the information through graphics rather then text. And as you said, there is no inherent meaning (although this could also be argued against) in the graphics, but they do function as an alternative way to label, and think they serve that purpose well.
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#10
Dennis McClendon

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So, it is easier for me to digest the information through graphics rather then text.


Really? How many countries can you identify more easily from the shape than from the name?
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#11
Casey Greene

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So, it is easier for me to digest the information through graphics rather then text.


Really? How many countries can you identify more easily from the shape than from the name?


Your right Dennis, that is the big problem: all the small countries look alike.
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#12
Dennis McClendon

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But even for Canada or Italy or China: do you grasp the meaning more quickly from an unlabeled shape or from the country name? I doubt that anyone finds the shape more meaningful than the word. In fact, I doubt that anyone gets the meaning directly from the shape without mentally substituting the name in his or her own language.

This gets at another of my big theories of semiotics and map design, that all too frequently an icon is inferior to just putting the word right on the map. One can make exceptions for maps intended to be used by people who don't speak the same language, but all too often cartographers insist on inventing some cute symbol for a library instead of putting the word library on the map.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#13
Casey Greene

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...I doubt that anyone finds the shape more meaningful than the word. In fact, I doubt that anyone gets the meaning directly from the shape without mentally substituting the name in his or her own language...


You got me Dennis :unsure: , your absolutely right :)
Casey Greene - Cartographer - Adventure Cycling Association
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