I-GUIDE VCO: An Overview of Cartograms and Gastner’s Flow-based Algorithm

Recorded VCO

An Overview of Cartograms and Gastner’s Flow-based Algorithm

Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2023   Time: 12:00 pm (Central Time)

A cartogram is a data visualization technique consisting of a transformed map projection such that the area of each region is proportional to some given data value. Most modern algorithms produce cartograms that are contiguous, meaning that the topology of the original map is preserved. Cartograms date back to at least the year 1929, when The Washington Post published a cartogram illustrating “population and taxation”. Nowadays, cartograms are widely used in the social sciences and often appear in academic papers. In more recent years, cartograms have also seen a revival in a variety of news publications, marking their relevance beyond the academic domain. Cartograms that illustrate the number of votes for election districts are a notable example of this. The Gastner-Newman Algorithm, which relies on the diffusion equation, is currently the most popular method for producing contiguous cartograms. However, Gastner et al. recently developed a method that relies on different flow-based equations to realize further speed increases in the cartogram generation process.


Adam Tonks

PhD candidate
Department of statistics program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Adam entered the program in 2019 and his research interests lie in applying novel statistical methods, such as deep learning, to problems in geospatial sciences. Prior to entering the program, he graduated from Yale-NUS College, a liberal arts college in Singapore. He also worked for a year as a data engineer in the marketing industry. Currently in his free time, he enjoys playing soccer and rugby.

Share this: