Map #2: August 22, 2016

Difficulty Level: 3

Click here for a full-size version of this week’s map.

This map is a cartogram of the countries of the world. (Do you need a refresher on what a cartogram is? Visit our “Basics” page for a quick primer.) On this map, countries are enlarged if they possess more of a particular statistic. The colors on this particular map don’t matter; they are just there to help you distinguish which country is which. Your job for this week: figure out what statistic is represented by this cartogram. Oh, and try to be reasonably precise with this week’s answer—it would be easy to get this almost right but not quite!

Stumped? Check back Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for hints about where to focus your investigation. The answer will be posted on Monday, August 29. Good luck!

Tuesday’s hint: As usual, it is a good idea to start by looking for places that stick out. Today, let’s start in the Caucasus. Of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia, only one is enlarged on this cartogram. Which one is it? Why?

Wednesday’s hint: Along the lines of yesterday’s hint, here are a few things to consider. First, note that Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador are all enlarged, but that Peru and Bolivia are quite small. What is something that goes on in northern South America, but not as much farther south? Second, note that Angola is enlarged, but Namibia and South Africa are not. What is something that goes on in Angola, but not farther south in Africa? Finally, note the stark contrast between Norway and Sweden. Is there anything that happens in Norway, but not in the rest of Scandinavia?

Thursday’s hint: Today’s hint is going to point out the obvious: a lot of countries in the Middle East are extremely large on this cartogram. In particular, the enlarged countries include Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. All seven of those countries border the Persian Gulf. Take a minute to look up information about the economies of those countries. Do they have anything in common?

Friday’s hint: Yesterday’s hint should have been good enough to get you pretty close to the right answer, so today’s hint is mainly a note of caution. It takes the form of a reminder that both China and the United States are quite large on this cartogram. If your answer has anything to do with exporting a particular commodity, you are going to need to revise it. Bear in mind that both China and the United States import large quantities of raw materials.

Answer: Click here to see an explanation of the answer to this week’s map question.

Next map: Click here to try out our newest map question.