Chris Mueller – Visualmotive

Thoughts on maps and visualization

Area Scaled Map from 1930 – Markets are People

Markets are People, published 1930 by Printer's Ink

Markets are People, published 1930 by Printer's Ink

“Markets are People” is a beautifully drawn map. It uses area-distortion to show population at both the state and city level. This is the first map we have seen that uses the area-distortion method at two resolutions. The effect is visually accurate, highly readable, and offers deeper insight into the data than similar maps that offer only one level of detail. (For comparison, look at modern cartograms on Wikipedia.)

Notice how easy it is, for example, to estimate the percentage of urban population in any given state: Illinois is about 50% urban. Relative sizes of cities are also easy to estimate.

This map was found in Graphic Presentation, published in 1939 by Willard C. Brinton, p. 242. The caption under the map reads:

Printer’s Ink Publishing Co., Inc. Chart by Walter P. Burns and Associates, Inc. New York City.

A Distorted Map of the United States Showing Population of Each State and Cities of 50,000 or More in 1930.

The presentation of cities whose areas are proportional to their population is the outstanding feature of this map.

The entirety of Graphic Presentation is worth exploring. It covers a full range of topics from color theory to line graphs and “quantitative cartoons”. The book is out of print, but we found a wonderful leather-bound copy at the university library. A PDF of the full text is also available.

Thanks to and Flowing Data for pointing us to this book.

Sep 16, 2009

Category: Maps


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