Monday, November 7, 2011

Map of the Week 11-07-2011: Flow of Transnational Organized Crime

Flow of Transnational Organized Crime – interactive map and charts
This is a really pretty map, and the accompanying graphs are nicely done, too. In my eternal quest to find innovative examples of some of the less common types of thematic maps, I think this one is a good (or at least, good-looking!) example of a flow map. However, the directional arrows are not sized to indicate quantity (although I think it would be difficult to find a common unit of measurement for all the disparate activities!). For $$ amounts involved in each type of criminal activity, you have to click on the bar chart in the upper right corner of the interactive map on their website.   There are some problems with the map and the data as presented, mainly along the lines of over-simplification, gross generalization, and obvious omissions. As some of you who have worked with global datasets know, it is not easy finding, meshing, and trying to make uniform all the disparate and inconsistently assembled information from many countries.  Some of the reader's comments on the Wired website mention a few of the problematic issues with the map, and perhaps you can find some others.  If you do, leave a comment here or let me know what you think via e-mail at
       The charts accompanying each activity type are quite cleverly done.

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