FAQ

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we have received.

General questions
Automatic placement of region labels is a difficult problem that we haven’t had time to solve yet. As an interim measure, you can see the name and data associated with each region in the top left corner of the output section by hovering over the region you want.
Below each map or cartogram displayed on this website there is a download button. Clicking it will download an SVG image containing the map image. SVG files contain vector images, and can be edited and converted by Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape, a free, open source alternative.

If you would simply like to convert your SVG map to a PNG image to use in a document or paper and don't have access to these programs, you can use this website.
Cartogram Generation
It usually takes just a few seconds to generate a cartogram using this website.
This website uses the Fast Flow-based method developed by Michael T. Gastner, Vivien Seguy, and Pratyush More. You can learn more about how this method works by reading the paper they published in the journal PNAS.
The colour of each map region can be changed by editing the values of the 'Colour' column in the downloadable CSV template for each map. You should use the hexadecimal colour code format to specify the colours you want. If you are not familiar with this format, you can learn more about it here.
Cartograms are designed to visualize totals, not indices. In general, if it is appropriate to use a mosaic plot or pie chart to visualize a dataset, then it should also be appropriate to use a cartogram. You can refer to the examples of appropriate and inapropriate datasets for use with cartograms below for more guidance:

Appropriate Inapropriate
Total GDP by region Human Development Index (or similar composite statistics)
Total population by region Population density by region
Number of college gradates by region Percentage of population that are college graduates by region