A simple system with complex results
The mapping system used here (equal area cartograms) makes it easy to create glanceable representations of urban space, onto which a variety of data types can be plotted. The individual map units (the squares) provide a simple canvas for using visualisation types that are normally quite difficult to use on a map (e.g. line charts). The system does often require compromises in geographic accuracy, but the trade off is more than made up for through ease of reading.
We explored cities from all over the world, including London, Helsinki, Cape Town, and Seoul, to create a set of maps that illustrate the method. Each city featured includes a square map and a breakdown of the process involved in creating it.
Process and guidance
Beyond the finished maps, the book also documents the theory and process of making these maps, to help readers understand how and why we undertook the project. We illustrate both the keys to making a successful square map and also the limitations of the method.