The above image, pulled today from Vesseltracker.com’s Google Earth file, shows container ships languishing off the Singapore coast. Welcome to the largest parking lot on Earth. International Economy explains:
The world’s busiest port for container traffic, Singapore saw its year-over-year volume drop by 19.6 percent in January 2009, followed by a 19.8 percent drop in February. As of mid-March 2009, 11.3 percent of the world’s shipping capacity, sat idle, a record.
It’s a rough time to be an Asian tiger, or to be in the shipping business. The IMF projects that Singapore’s economy will shrink significantly in 2009. Globally, bulk shipping rates have dropped more than 80 percent in the past year on weak demand, and orders for new shipping vessels are cratering. In Busan, South Korea, the fifth-largest port in the world, empty shipping containers are piling up faster than officials can manage.
“Things have really started to get bad — laborers spend their entire day waiting for a call from the docks that they have a job,” Kim Sang Cheul, a dockworker at Busan, told Bloomberg. “People spend all day staring at their phone as if staring at it can make it ring. You’re lucky if you get a call.”
[Editor’s note: These new DC-based websites display a wealth of information about the fifty U.S. states and around the world. Maps are presented both as simple choropleth (color by area) and animated non-continuous area cartograms of the type promoted by Zach Johnson over at IndieMapping. Click on the map above to see it animated to the cartogram view. Thanks Rick!
Quibbles: I wish the US map was projected into a conic like Albers and the World maps were projected, too. Some of the maps deserve a per capita view to best show their thematic data. That would be more telling than a simple cartogram. Or a cartogram that was based on per capita measure would be even better.]
From Spanish speakers to bales of cotton produced to number of UFO sightings, SHOW®USA (show.mappingworlds.com) displays each state’s numbers in animated, easy-to-understand maps that resize the state to the data rather than geographical area. The results are cartograms that bring the numbers to life–and reveal a few surprises.
“Look at our Tornado Deaths map, for instance,” says the site’s creator, Desmond Spruijt. “The most people killed last year by tornadoes were in Florida. It makes you wonder why it wasn’t in the Midwest, where our Tornadoes map shows the most storms. It turns out states like Oklahoma have better warning systems and more storm shelters, not to mention fewer people. The visual presentation makes you think about the data, to understand it better.”
Spruijt is founder of MappingWorlds, a company that helps government, non-profit, and business clients worldwide create innovative maps and cartograms. SHOW®USA is the sister site of SHOW®WORLD, which presents maps with data on the countries of the world in the same way.
SHOW®USA and SHOW®WORLD are free for public use, with no registration or personal information collected. Users can download the numbers behind the maps, which come from dozens of sources like the U.S. Census Bureau, capture and use an image of a map with animation, hyperlink to any map, and post comments about each one–all at no charge.
“To us, maps are more than pictures, they are communication and education tools,” says Spruijt. “We want people to use the SHOW®USA maps in slide shows or research papers, in the classroom–wherever our maps can make simple numbers come alive–and also to start conversations about them on our site. SHOW®USA and SHOW®WORLD also show off the kind of innovative maps we create for our clients at MappingWorlds.”
Spruijt founded MappingWorlds in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 2004. The company’s clients include the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.
The maps available on SHOW®USA touch on nearly every aspect of the land and people of America. Some of the current maps include: Hispanics, rural population, people with disabilities, drunk driving deaths, U.S. military deaths in Iraq, people without health insurance, strawberry production, natural gas reserves, casinos, federal farm support received, electoral college votes, food stamp recipients, gay marriages, murders, hate crimes, immigrants, charitable contributions, foreclosures, roller coasters, number of presidents born in each state, and Bigfoot sightings. With 141 maps so far, the site is still adding data and plans to have several hundred maps on display.
For those without Flash, JPG versions of the embedded SWF above: