I have selected 12 maps that capture some of the biggest, most interesting, exciting or newsworthy events over the past year, mainly from the UK. January has a bonus map at the expense of March (I couldn’t think of anything). This list is entirely my own and I am sure people will have plenty of suggestions. Few of the maps are cartographic masterpieces but they have all conveyed a key event to a large audience.
The coldest spell of winter weather for 3 decades. The UK was gripped by Arctic winds and covered in snow. This stunning MODIS image conceals the chaos below.
OpenStreetMap Haiti earthquake response. The efforts of the OpenStreetMap community placed the project in many of the national newspapers and served as a fantastic demonstration of the skills and goodwill of the mapping community.
2010 Winter Olympics. Vancouver was short on snow and Team GB brings home its first individual gold medal for over 30 years. This New York Times cartogram of Winter Olympic Medals shows just how far the Winter Olympics movement has to go before it deserves its global claims. March
Eyjafjallajökull (aka the Icelandic Volcano). Air traffic mayhem as the ash cloud spreads over northern Europe. The map below shows some predicted extents of the ash cloud (from the UK Met Office). The video is an Ito World visualization showing the effect it had on air traffic.
The UK General Election resulted in a hung parliament leading to a Conservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition government. This is the map I produced showing the mixture of votes in each constituency. More here.
BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. For a neat interactive map see here.
Raoul Moat manhunt and mass shootings in Northumbria.
The London Elephant Parade. 260 hand painted elephants were placed around London to raise awareness about the decline of the Asian Elephant. This event really captured the imaginations of Londoners and added more colour to the city over the summer. The locations of the elephants changed, but people could request a free map to see if they could catch them all.
Another London map. This time of its cycle hire scheme. The Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, or “Boris Bikes”, was launched at the end of July. Within a couple of months it was becoming clear that Londoners were making full use of the scheme to commute or relax. I have included an early animation of Oliver O’Brien’s excellent bike hire map.
UK Chancellor George Osbourne outlined the Comprehensive Spending Review. This laid the foundations for the many cuts to public spending that have been announced in the last few weeks. The BBC produced an interactive map to show those areas most or least likely to be affected.
Wikileaks has had a massive impact on the news this year. November saw the release of US Embassy Cables. I have produced my own map with some of these data. I have included one from the Guardian below.
Some of the most violent riots in recent times occurred last week in London. Students (and anarchists) clashed with police over the proposed (now implemented) rise in tuition fees for English Universities. The students just across the UCL Quad from me occupying part of the university put together a “live protest map” using nothing but the default tools provided by Google. Protesters frequently updated this map with the locations of police etc.