Unstrange maps: Security, health, economics

Strange Maps features odd maps, often fictional. I like the site, especially for the inherent humor in some of the maps — and since it’s such a popular site among the more than 1 million WordPress weblogs, it’s clear others share my enthusiasm.

Global map of energy security risk - Maplecroft Maps

There are a lot of unstrange and beautiful maps based on reality, too, used to give a quick, graphic image to the brains of people working on serious problems. Maps guide policy makers, and illustrate geographical range of problems, and sometimes geographical causes and vulnerabilities.

Here’s a source of interactive maps that every economics, government, history, and health teacher should bookmark: Maplecroft Maps.

Maps at this site cover a nearly complete range of issues that worry leaders of businesses and nations. I found the site looking for information about malaria.

Of special note is the wealth of information available from the interactive features. Clicking on nations or on symbols on the map provides details of issues the map covers; three tabs with the maps take the viewer of most of the maps to an extensive list of resources on the issue, and case studies, and analysis. These sources seem tailor made to help students doing geography projects.

Issue maps include disasters, malaria, child labor, climate change, poverty, land mine risk, political risk and a wide variety of others. You’ll need Macromedia Flash on your computer; there does not appear to be any way to download the maps, so you’ll need a live internet link to use these in class.

Information from these maps will be more current than any geography, history or economics book. Go see.

Maplecroft is a network of academic and business consultants. These maps are made to help their clients; Maplecroft’s description of the series is below the fold.

About Maplecroft maps

Maplecroft maps is a highly visual, web-based resource which contains detailed country information for over 200 states and maps key social, economic, environmental and political issues and their significance to business and society.

This innovative tool is designed to raise awareness amongst corporations, government and non-governmental organisations, academics, students and the general public of how an organisation’s operations interact with wider society, and how the risks and opportunities generated can be responsibly managed through stakeholder engagement and partnership.

For each specific issue, the map features:

A unique index – designed by Maplecroft, measuring the global distribution of risk and opportunity;

Country shading – illustrating the pervasiveness and risk ranking of the issue being mapped;

In-depth analysis – emphasising the importance of each issue and its impacts and significance to business and society in general;

Traffic light system – indicating whether the indicators relevant to the issue have increased, decreased or remained the same as in previous years;

Hotspots – highlighting endemic risk within a country in respect of specific issues;

Flashpoints – highlighting particular incidences of risk in respect of specific issues;

Spotlights on business engagement – highlighting engagement by business in respect of managing specific issues;

Case studies – positive and negative examples of how companies have managed the challenges that they have faced.

The interactive map tool itself is regularly updated with new features to make it easier and more enjoyable to use – learning must be a pleasure. New issues are added to the tool at regular intervals, as well as enhancements and updates to existing issues, adding depth by incorporating new research, data, case studies and policy developments as they become available.

HIV map, from Maplecroft Maps

Tip of the old scrub brush to Technology, Health and Development, via The Pump Handle.

3 Responses to Unstrange maps: Security, health, economics

  1. Onkel Bob says:

    Thanks for the tip, that’s another interesting site. (and apologies for the typo’s etc., in my post.) As a user of PowerPoint in lectures, and someone who must deal with artists and graphic designers, his ideas and suggestions give me much to digest and pass on to the students.
    BTW – your blog here is very good too. I wandered into the ID controversy when a Anthropology professor went on a diatribe about it. I wondered aloud if these people really were a danger and he opened my eyes to it. Then, after I made my ill fated foray into science education, I discovered it was worse than I imagined. Although I hoping for a curator position in the Art department, I’m also preparing for battle against some of these yahoo’s. I already discovered that some of my fellow graduate students are proponents of this mythology. Since my reputation among the artists is as the “science guy,” I hope to to have greater influence then the MFA candidates. (My degree focus is interdisciplinary, combining Art History and Geography.)


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Good points, Onkel Bob. Are you familiar with the site, Presentation Zen?


  3. Onkel Bob says:

    This Art Historian, nee Computer Jockey, and hopeful GIS guru has a few quibbles about the site.
    Cartography should be intuitive. You, the reader, should immediately be able to extract the information that the cartographer wishes to convey. Then you should be able to extrapolate that data into something useful or interesting to your own purpose. I can’t do that there except in a few isolated cases.
    They rely too heavily on the legend, and give the reader too much information that lacks context. The Land Mine Risk “LRI” in the US is high? Who is at risk? Apparently it is not US citizens, but rather those that are injured/killed by mines manufactured in the US.
    The color selection is poor. It relies on saturation and lightness of a single hue rather than supplying different hues.
    That said the site has one unintended use: When I TA Art Historians and geographers I use it as an example of what not to do, and ask the students how would improve it. Eventually I’ll get around to finishing my thesis work and have time enough to blog and put up some of my maps. On that I’ll show the cultivation of the orange over the centuries and hopefully explain why it is there is an Orange County in NY despite that its climate will not support cultivation. (Yes I know its from the Dutch, but why did they adopt orange as a symbol? Inquiring Finns want to know.)


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