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Friday, November 17, 2006

Worldmapper for fisheries

Stop me if you've heard about this before, but I just came across this great little web-page from the University of Sheffield that scales countries on the world map according to various statistics.

I'm an inveterate hoarder of statistics, and realised early on in my career that a picture is worth a thousand numbers - a graphical interface is good and a geographical interface is great. This goes one better than the average GIS and actually distorts the map itself, so you get an even more dramatic view of the importance of AIDS in different regions...

...or private health spending ...

... or whatever.

More interesting to me was the map of the world as scaled according to fish imports.

The USA is big on fish imports, Europe is big, and Japan is relatively huge. I showed this one to a meeting of Pacific Island government representatives this week while I was talking about some of the factors likely to impact the future of Pacific Island fisheries. Import demand, and consumer preference is very significant to fisheries in this region, and this map showed at a glance what a page of dry numbers would struggle to do.

The only problem now is the lack of detailed statistics on our region - the Pacific Islands - but I'm going to try plugging a few things into a local map next week (if you can call a map covering almost the entire Pacific Ocean "local").

I'll be giving full credit to the worldmapper team if I use any of this stuff in future presentations. And thanks to Kim Friedman for showing it to me in the first place.

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