Michael D. Ward

Department of Political Science, Duke University


This is a collection of some graphics and maps that I have constructed that are included in (or actually deleted from) some of my writings.

Many of these are cartograms. A cartogram is a visual presentation of geographically organized data in the form of a map. Typically, the size and shape of each unit on the map is sized to be proportional to the data being presented under the constraint that the shape and/or location of each unit is modified as little as possible. A detailed analysis of cartogram technology may be found in Waldo Tobler's article: “Thirty-Five Years of Computer Cartograms,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Volume 94, Number 1, March 2004, pp. 58-73(16). Irnonically, thirty five years was overtaken by the work of two physicists who created a variety of beautiful maps of the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election that were widely discussed and employed by scholars and journalists, alike. Details of this approach can be found in Gastner, M.T., and M.E.J. Newman. 2004. “Diffusion-based method for producing density-equalizing maps”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101(May 18):7499-7504. Their website also provides many good examples, along with computer code for producing them. I employ their algorithm to produce a variety of cartograms of world affairs.

Some Cartograms of World Affairs
battle deaths

Battle deaths from conflict, 1946-2005. Countriies are proportional to the number of battle deaths. Data are from Bethany Lacina and Nils Petter Gleditsch, 2005. "Monitoring Trends in Global Combat: A New Dataset of Battle Deaths, " European Journal of Population 21(2-3): 145-166.

Colors reflect the level of democracy (blue) or autocracy (tan) in each of these countries (based on the POLITY IV indicators).

Total Imports 2002

This graphic is world imports in 2002, Colors reflect the level of democracy (blue) or autocracy (tan) in each of these countries (based on the POLITY IV indicators).

What is most notable about this cartogram is the disappearance of the African continent: Africa is almost invisible in terms of global trade patterns, a continuing point of contention in (barely) ongoing global trade negotiations.

trade 2004

An updated alternative cartogram is below. It uses total trade data from 2004 as well as the Free, Partially Free, Not Free categorization of Freedom House. Herein Blue represents free countries, green the partially free, and brown the authoritarian, non-free countries.

Freedom House codes many countries as being less free than does the Polity IV project; the Russian Federation is a particular case in point.

Africa is a bit bigger, owing to the combination in this graphic of exports and imports, but still essentially invisible in the global economy.

US Economic Aid 2004

Where does U.S. economic aid wind up? These data are taken from 2004 and show that there are several places which receive most of of the flows of aid.


Irrespective of the Sachs -- Easterly debate, Africa is invisible. So in a sense, they are both right.

US Military Aid 2004

By comparison, where does US Military Aid in 2004 wind up? Mostly in the Middle East, especially Egypt and Israel.

Columbia is also receives a large amount of military aid.

Military sales and operational expenses in Iraq and other locales are also excluded.

Its an ugly map, no?


Africa may be found in the cartogram below.

Military Aid with IRAQ

Yup, this cartogram illustrates the huge cost of supplemental appropriations for Iraq in 2004 when compared with Military Aid programs. Makes Israeli and Egyptian Aid receipts seem almost tiny.


Not here, but keep looking.


If you would like to find out where Africa appears on the World Cartogram, look at the HIV infection rates from 2003, taken from the UNAIDS report

Subsaharan African countries loom large in these data.


































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