Imagination and Collaboration

In 2018 Oliver Uberti and I had the honour of receiving the Corlis Benefideo Award for Imaginative Cartography. What follows is an adaptation of our acceptance speech from the 2018 NACIS Annual Meeting in Norfolk, Virginia. To read the article in Cartographic Perspectives and for referencing information click here. IMAGINATION Oliver: Good evening. In preparing…

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Failure is part of the visualization process

It can be hugely frustrating and even debilitating at those times when you feel unable to wrangle the data you need to create the graphic you had in mind. But failure is an important part of the creative process.

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Next slide please: what’s wrong with the UK government’s coronavirus charts

“If you can’t convince them, confuse them.” If you watched the UK government’s COVID-19 briefing to announce and England-wide lockdown, you might have been reminded of this quote by Harry S Truman. Following slide after slide of maps and charts, there was growing frustration about the way nationally important statistics were being presented to the…

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Why eye-catching graphics are vital for getting to grips with climate change

The power of maps lies in their ability to show us simultaneously that as global average temperatures rise, local conditions threaten to become ever more extreme. We now need to better harness that power to inspire action.

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How the Victorians Mapped London’s Cholera

It is, of course, John Snow who is credited with using maps to demonstrate that the clusters of deaths from cholera in London’s Soho during London’s 1854 outbreak were caused by contaminated water. This marked a major shift in thinking away from the disease being transmitted through dirty air: the more widely accepted theory at […]

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London’s Population Profile in 1935

The graphic below shows the population of London across a number of transects overlain on the city’s underlying terrain. It was produced by Ordnance Survey in 1935 and is one of the few early examples I’ve seen of the organisation producing “data visualisations” alongside their famous maps (they do a lot more of this now […]

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Map Projections

I’ve just discovered this really lovely graphic detailing a number of different map projections. It’s taken from the opening pages of the “Oxford Advanced Atlas” (Bartholomew, 1936) and features well-known projections such as the Mercator and Mollweide, through to the more obscure Van der Grinten, and the heart shaped Bonne. It even features the gores required […]

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Joy Division, Population Surfaces and Pioneering Electronic Cartography

There has been a resurgence of interest in data visualizations inspired by Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album cover. These so-called “Joy Plots” are easier to create thanks to the development of the “ggjoy” R package and also some nice code posted using D3. I produced a global population map (details here) using a similar technique in 2013 and since […]

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Population Lines: How and Why I Created It

Thanks to the power of Reddit the “Population Lines” print (buy here) I created back in 2013 has attracted a huge amount of interest in the past week or so (a Europe only version made by Henrik Lindberg made the Reddit front page). There’s been lots of subsequent discussion about it’s inspiration, effectiveness as a form of […]

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Mapping 5,000 Years of City Growth

I recently stumbled upon a great dataset. It’s the first to provide comprehensive data for world city sizes as far back as 3700BC. The authors (Meredith Reba, Femke Reitsma & Karen Seto) write: How were cities distributed globally in the past? How many people lived in these cities? How did cities influence their local and regional […]

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Big Data and Design: More Baboon, Less Unicorn

I recently had the pleasure of giving a Creative Mornings talk. Each month there is a new theme that the presenters need to refer to – mine was “fantasy” so I chose to open with one of my favourite fantasy creatures: the unicorn. It’s a talk about the creative process behind Oliver Uberti and I’s […]

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My Year in Maps

Lots happened in 2016 to keep cartographers busy…here are some of my highlights (in no particular order).   Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line at the British Library is an absolutely extraordinary exhibition at the British Library. The breadth and quality of maps on display is amazing. (Inspired by the exhibition, I am giving a […]

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Global Urban Constellations

Geographers have long grappled with the complex and ever changing configurations of global urbanism. Many terms have been coined to describe new 20th and 21st century urban forms: conurbations (Geddes, 1915), multi-nuclei cities (Harris & Ultman, 1945), megalopolis (Gottman, 1961), world cities (Hall, 1966), desakota (McGee, 1991),  fractal cities (Batty & Longley, 1994), network cities (Batten, 1995), … Continue reading Global Urban Constellations

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World Population Density Interactive Map

A brilliant new dataset produced by the European Commission was recently released- the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL). This is the first time that detailed and comprehensive population density and built-up area for the world has been available as open data. As usual, my first thought was to make an interactive map, now online at- http://luminocity3d.org/WorldPopDen/ … Continue reading World Population Density Interactive Map

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7 Deadly Sins of (Academic) Data Visualisation

I was recently asked to deliver a days training on scientific data visualisation. I spent a while scanning through papers to pull out what I see as the “7 deadly sins” of academic data visualisation (there are probably many more) . These sins are rooted in a lack of time and training, an underestimation of the importance […]

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Mapping (historic) tracks in ggplot2

This tutorial was first published in “Geocomputation a Practical Primer“. Here is a more complex example showing how to produce a map of 18th Century Shipping flows. The data have been obtained from the CLIWOC project and they represent a sample of digitised ships’ logs from the 18th Century. We are using a very small […]

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Datashine: Mapping the UK Population

All the DataShine websites (except DataShine Election) are derived from a common codebase and use the OpenLayers 3 mapping platform to display a full-window slippy map, with user controls and key overlaid. DataShine Census DataShine ScotlandCommissioned by the National Records of Scotland. DataShine Commute DataShine Scotland Commute. Commissioned by the National Records of Scotland. DataShine Region […]

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Environment & Planning Featured Graphic: World City Populations Time-Series Map

The World City Populations Interactive Map is now available as a static map, and has been published as a Featured Graphic in Environment and Planning A. The EPA article includes details on the UN World Urbanization Prospects data, and the methods used to create the map. For a high resolution version of the static map, click below-

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New Paper- Online Interactive Mapping: Applications and Techniques for Socio-Economic Research

I have a new paper published in Computers Environment and Urban Systems- Online interactive thematic mapping: applications and techniques for socio-economic research. The paper reviews workflows for creating online thematic maps, and describes how several leading interactive mapping sites were created. The paper is open access so you can download the pdf for free. The paper…

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SmellyMaps

SmellyMaps reveals the “olfactory footprint of London” – the streets which are dominated by traffic fumes, the animal smells emanating out from London Zoo, and the influence of parks and greenspaces on London’s scent experience. Streets are measured for four smell groupings – emissions (coloured red on the map), nature (green), food (blue) and animals […]

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Mapping the Global Urban Transformation

One of the best datasets for understanding the explosive growth of cities across the world in the last 75 years in the UN World Urbanisation Prospects research, which records individual city populations from 1950 to 2014, and includes predicted populations up to 2030. I have been meaning to create an interactive map of this fascinating data for…

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Mapping Protest in 3D with Twitter Data




As one part of my docotoral thesis, I have made the video that shows the relationship between ‘London End Austerity Now’ Protest on 20thJune 2015 and the Twitter acitivity on that day.

The video gives you some details about the protest, the data and 3D visualisation.
If the following YouTube video is not displayed on your device, please use this link. 





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Mapping Protest in 3D with Twitter Data

As one part of my docotoral thesis, I have made the video that shows the relationship between ‘London End Austerity Now’ Protest on 20thJune 2015 and the Twitter acitivity on that day.The video gives you some details about the protest, the data and 3D …

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