36 Maps That Explain The Entire World

pirate hot spots

Photo: Contrarian Edge

There may be no better way of explaining the world than through maps.Whether they depict oil flows, internet cables, or migration patterns, a good map can explain a concept in a way that no other visualisation can.

They may be even better than charts. 

We’ve compiled 36 cartographic visualizations that depict the state of the world in 2013, and how we got there.

Tax payback: red indicates states that get more than a dollar back for every dollar of taxes paid

Worldwide Oil Import And Export Flows: Saudi Arabia is the biggest hub still. Next up is Indonesia.

Strategic oil reserves: everyone's got one.

Oil imports: the East Coast is surprisingly dependent on Nigerian oil.

Economic centre of Gravity Since 1 AD. Note how it moved from the east, then to the West, and is now heading back east again.

Various key commodities are all dominated by emerging markets

Income inequality (Gini coefficient): South Africa is the worst

Bribery: Nigeria is the worst.

Shipping rates: pennies per pound when shipping by sea.

defence spending as per cent of GDP: the US actually trails Saudi Arabia.

Acres of land owned by the US military: America is on all continents save South America.

Riskiest areas to ship: where the pirates rule the seas.

Countries with highest volume of trade with China: whole continents are imperiled by by a Chinese slowdown.

Property tax burden (proportion of land value to taxes): Midwest and Long Island residents are suffering.

Infrastructure spending: after China, the Middle East dominates.

China industry relocation: away from the coast.

Fast food in China: getting bigger.

Countries with McDonald's: worldwide takeover.

Happiness: The US is looking good.

US migration: Washington DC has led inward migration for 7 straight years.

Total alcohol consumption: Russia is hands-down winner, though Australia not far behind.

Drink popularity by country: beer in the West, spirits in the East.

Change in median household income since 2007: Gains are concentrated in the shale and farm-rich regions

Roman Empire under Trajan: how the West got its languages.

FAA Air Force 1 Flight Restriction: Inner red rings are off limits. Even emergency aircraft must get approval when the president's in town

Obesity: Michigan resembles The South.

Lightning strikes: focused around the equator.

Drought risk: it's not just isolated around the equator.

Earthquakes: surprising frequency on the eastern coast of the Atlantic.

NFL team loyalty: no one likes the Jets.

Google Maps street view territories: they've finally expanded beyond English-speaking countries.

Routes to every Starbucks in America: you're never that far away.

Tweets about beer versus religion: a clear north-south divide.

How snarky bloggers see America: also some over-simplifications.

DNA migration: a complex history.

Changes in property values in Brooklyn: gentrification at work.

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