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Rectangular Hierarchical Cartograms for Socio-Economic Data

Slingsby, A., Dykes, J. & Wood, J. (2010). Rectangular Hierarchical Cartograms for Socio-Economic Data. Journal of Maps, 6(1), pp. 330-345. doi: 10.4113/jom.2010.1090


We present rectangular hierarchical cartograms for mapping socio-economic data. These density-normalising cartograms size spatial units by population, increasing the ease with which data for densely populated areas can be visually resolved compared to more conventional cartographic projections. Their hierarchical nature enables the study of spatial granularity in spatial hierarchies, hierarchical categorical data and multivariate data through false hierarchies. They are space-filling representations that make efficient use of space and their rectangular nature (which aims to be as square as possible) improves the ability to compare the sizes (therefore population) of geographical units.

We demonstrate these cartograms by mapping the Office for National Statistics Output Area Classification (OAC) by unit postcode (1.52 million in Great Britain) through the postcode hierarchy, using these to explore spatial variation. We provide rich and detailed spatial summaries of socio-economic characteristics of population as types of treemap, exploring the effects of reconfiguring them to study spatial and non-spatial aspects of the OAC classification.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: MAPS
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GA Mathematical geography. Cartography
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Library & Information Science
School of Science & Technology > Computer Science > giCentre
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