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Articles in GeoNotes

Xinjiang, China: Ethnicity and Economic Development

By Martin W. Lewis | April 22, 2013 | 7 Comments

An impressive map of China’s per capita GDP by prefecture, reposted here, appeared in late 2012 on the website Skyscraper City, posted by user “Chrissib” Cicerone.  According to the map, the two poorest parts of China are in southern Gansu province, an area demographically dominated by Han Chinese, and in southwestern Xinjiang, an area demographically dominated by Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking, …

Regional Trends in Chinese Economic Development

By Martin W. Lewis | April 21, 2013 |

A widely distributed China Briefing map shows per capita GDP gains by province* for 2011. As can be seen, all parts of China experienced rapid economic expansion in that year, but the more prosperous and productive coastal zone did not fare as well as many interior areas. The mineral-driven boom in Inner Mongolia is well known, but the rapid recent …

Mappery and the Problems with “True” and “Real” Maps

By Martin W. Lewis | April 18, 2013 | 7 Comments

The useful website Mappery “was created for map enthusiasts to find, explore, and discuss great maps. Anyone can contribute maps, comments, and ratings to the site.” The site contains numerous maps, and is certainly worth exploring. Thankfully, users seldom exploit the site for propagandistic purposes. Mappery does contain, however, a few problematic political maps, such as the “Real Map of …

Remapping Poverty in India

By Martin W. Lewis | April 16, 2013 |

Data Stories (“… on India, One Chart at a Time”) recently published some intriguing maps and other visualizations of poverty and wealth in India. Its poverty map, posted here, shows households that “don’t own any of the assets listed on the census forms – that means no phone, no TV or radio, and no vehicle of any kind…,” a category …

The New York Times’ Flubbed China Cartograms

By Martin W. Lewis | April 10, 2013 |

An interesting story in today’s (April 9) New York Times—“Hello, Cambodia: Wary of Events in China, Foreign Investors Head to the South”—is illustrated in the print edition with two striking cartograms of eastern Asia, one of which shows population and the other economic output. The cartogram legends claims that “countries and Chinese provinces are sized according to population” and, respectively …

Egypt and the World Diesel Price Map

By Martin W. Lewis | April 4, 2013 | 6 Comments

The price of fuel in Egypt, and especially that of diesel, has been featured in many recent news stories, owing to the perilous state of the Egyptian economy. As an April 1 article in Financial Times notes:
Egypt imports up to 70 per cent of its diesel, which it uses to fuel cars, farm equipment and power plants. In addition, it …

Mapping the Cell Phone Revolution

By Martin W. Lewis | April 2, 2013 | 4 Comments

It is often noted that inexpensive cellular telephones have revolutionized communications across much of the world, especially in poor countries that lack landlines. Confirmation of this development is found in the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, which features detailed data tables for 140 countries. According to the report, 80 countries have more mobile telephone subscriptions than …

Some Strange Fantasy Maps

By Martin W. Lewis | March 28, 2013 | 3 Comments

The world of science fiction and fantasy is an excellent place to find strange maps, and few are stranger than the Drenai map posted here. David Gemmell’s Drenai series has prompted a number of fans to map the world depicted in the novels. Most are rather straightforward pictures of the author’s fantasy realm. One amateur cartographer, however, decided to map …

Mapping the 2013 Swiss Referendum: Executive Compensation

By Martin W. Lewis | March 23, 2013 | 11 Comments

In the Swiss referendum of 2013, voters overwhelming approved a measure to limit executive compensation. Despite the fact that opponents outspent proponents 40 fold, and despite warning that the move would “undermine the country’s investor-friendly image,” 68 percent of voters approved the initiative.
As specified by the Wikipedia, the measure will:

require an annual vote by shareholders for the president and other …

Geographical Patterns in the 2013 Swiss Election, Part I

By Martin W. Lewis | March 22, 2013 |

A three-part referendum held in Switzerland in early March received minimal press attention. Some media reports noted the passage of a measure to restrict executive compensation, but the family policy initiative was virtually ignored, as was the one on land-use planning. Today’s post briefly considers the family policy issue, whereas tomorrow’s will look at the executive compensation measure.
The Swiss election …

Zoï’s Fantastic Central Asia Water Map, and Turkmenistan’s Geo-Engineering Projects

By Martin W. Lewis | March 19, 2013 | 9 Comments

The Geneva-based Zoï Environment Network has created some detailed and well-designed environmental maps. Available through flickr photostream along with many other images, the maps are not very well catalogued. Regardless of such organizational problems, the site is well worth exploring. The map that I have posted here, moreover, is the best presentation of the Central Asia’s water crisis that I …

Intense Ethnic Divisions in the 2013 Kenyan Election

By Martin W. Lewis | March 14, 2013 | 2 Comments

Media reports of the recent Kenyan presidential election have generally focused on the facts that the contest was not as violent as many feared it would be, and that the winner, Uhuru Kenyatta, has been charged by the International Criminal Court with committing crimes against humanity in relation to the bloody presidential election of 2007. Some articles have also mentioned …

Mapping Evangelical Christian Missionary Efforts

By Martin W. Lewis | March 13, 2013 | 2 Comments

It is difficult to find maps depicting religious adherence in areas outside of the historical boundaries of the major universalizing faiths, such as much of sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania. Many such places, however, are characterized today by profound religious change, as missionaries seek converts and as syncretic forms of worship emerge. Some proselytizing organizations, however, maintain intricate maps of their …

Punjabi and the Problems of Mapping Dialect Continua

By Martin W. Lewis | March 11, 2013 | 14 Comments

The Wikipedia list of the world’s most widely spoken languages, by mother tongue, puts Punjabi in tenth place, with its roughly 100 million native speakers exceeding the figures given for German, French, Italian, Turkish, Persian and many other well-known languages. The Wikipedia article on the Punjabi language stresses its growing appeal, noting that, “The influence of Punjabi as a cultural …

Lovely Wikipedia Gong Map of Southeast Asia

By Martin W. Lewis | March 7, 2013 | One Comment

A Google image search of “culture map” returns some interesting images. A striking Wikipedia map that comes up high in the search depicts three “gong and chime” culture areas in Southeast Asia: gamelan, kulintang, and piphat. The gamelan percussion orchestras of Java and Bali are relatively well known globally, but the same cannot be said for piphat or kulintang, both …

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