How to tell two radically different stories with the same dataset.
Mapping matters, but that doesn’t mean that maps convey an objective truth. They are rhetorical devices used to convince and persuade. So approach maps critically because while they can convey great spatial patterns, they can conceal patterns just as easily.
Global warming has raised global sea level about 8″ since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Rising seas dramatically increase the odds of damaging floods from storm surges.
This interactive map from Climate Central dramatically shows what locations are most vulnerable to sea level rise. You can adjust the map to display anywhere from 1 to 10 feet of sea level rise to compare the impact to coastal communities. This dynamic map lets to view other layers to contextualize potential sea level rise by toggling on layers that include, population density, ethnicity, income, property and social vulnerability.
“Data viz extraordinaire Max Galka created this map using NASA’s gridded population data, which counts the global population within each nine-square-mile patch of Earth, instead of within each each district, state, or country border. Out of the 28 million total cells, the ones with a population over 8,000 are colored in yellow.”
“A religious revolution is underway in Latin America. Between 1900 and 1960, 90% of Latin Americans were Catholics. But in the last fifty years, that figure has slumped to 69%, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center (from which most of the data in this article are taken). The continent may still be home to 425 million Catholics—40% of the world’s total—but the Vatican’s grip is slipping.”
“If you want to understand the world of tomorrow, why not just look at a good map? For my (Parag Khanna) new book, Connectography, I researched every single significant cross-border infrastructure project linking countries together on every continent. I worked with the world’s leading cartography labs to literally map out what the future actually — physically — will look like.
It turns out that what most defines the emerging world is not fragmentation of countries but integration within regions. The same world that appears to be falling apart is actually coming together in much more concrete ways than today’s political maps suggest. Major world regions are forging dense infrastructural connectivity and reorienting their relations around supply chains rather than borders.”
On February 2nd 1848, following a short and one-sided war, Mexico agreed to cede more than half its territory to the United States. An area covering most of present-day Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, plus parts of several other states, was handed over to gringolandia. The rebellious state of Tejas, which had declared its independence from Mexico in 1836, was recognised as American soil too. But a century and a half later, communities have proved more durable than borders. The counties with the highest concentration of Mexicans (as defined by ethnicity, rather than citizenship) overlap closely with the area that belonged to Mexico before the great gringo land-grab of 1848. Some are recent arrivals; others trace their roots to long before the map was redrawn. They didn’t jump the border—it jumped them.
“The total population in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow at a faster pace than in any other region in the decades ahead, more than doubling from 823 million in 2010 to 1.9 billion in 2050. As a result, the two dominant religions in the region – Christianity and Islam – both are expected to have more than twice as many adherents in 2050 as in 2010.”
Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the poorest regions of the world. While the economy is growing, the rate at which poverty is falling is less than the population growth rate. Nearly all of the population growth in Africa between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Sub-Saharan Africa. As the population grows, the religious dynamics of Sub-Saharan Africa will change. The share of residents practicing Christianity, the majority religion of the region, is expected to decline from 2010 to 2050 while the share of Muslims is expected to increase in the same time frame. The changes in religious demographics is occurring alongside the region’s youth bulge (click here for a population pyramid). Understanding religious demographics is key to understanding the challenges faced by the African people.
Question to Ponder: What impact are the region’s two fastest-growing religions having on Sub-Saharan Africa’s overall fertility rate?
The Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) is all around us. Yet he is invisible. “Alexander von Humboldt has been largely forgotten in the English-speaking world,” writes Andrea Wulf in her thrilling new biography. “It is almost as though his ideas have become so manifest that the man behind them has disappeared.” Wulf’s book is as much a history of those ideas as it is of the man. The man may be lost but his ideas have never been more alive.
Alexander von Humboldt has been described as the last great ancient geographer concerned with understanding an eclectic cosmography as well as the first modern geographer. He is honored far and wide throughout Europe and especially Latin America for his explorations, but given that people are confused as how to categorize him and classify his contributions, today he is under-appreciated. Geographers need to reclaim his memory and call his extensive, globetrotting work on a wide range of subjects ‘geography.’ Here are more articles and videos on the man that I feel geographers should publicly champion as their intellectual ancestor the way that biologists point to Darwin.