Map #12: October 31, 2016

Difficulty Level: 6

This map is a proportional symbol map of Europe. (Do you need a refresher on what a proportional symbol map is? Visit our “Basics” page for a quick primer.) On this map, each circle indicates a particular city. Cities with larger circles have more of a particular statistic than do those with smaller circles. Your job for this week: figure out what statistic is represented by this proportional symbol map.

Stumped? Check back Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for hints about where to focus your investigation. The answer will be posted on Monday, November 7. Good luck!

Monday’s interesting note: For this map to be complete, there would have to be one more blue dot in the Canary Islands. Rather than put an inset onto the map and have to fuss around with the difference in scale, we’re just telling you here.

Tuesday’s first hint: On this map, it can be tricky to tell where each dot is placed because the map is unlabeled and the dots are quite large. Consequently, we wanted to go through and clarify a few things. First, the yellow dot that appears to be in southern France is actually in Monaco, while the three blue dots near it are all in France. Second, the blue dot that appears to be in eastern Switzerland is actually in Liechtenstein. Finally—and this is especially difficult to represent on this map, so we apologize for any confusion—there are three blue dots in very close proximity in Luxembourg, but the nearby green dot is in southern Belgium.

Tuesday’s second hint: Several people have written in to say they are confused by the single blue dot in Italy. That dot is correctly placed, but it’s also something of a red herring. The best way to solve this map is to ignore the Italian dot entirely.

Wednesday’s hint: Yesterday, we told you to ignore the dot in Italy. For the moment, try not to pay much attention to the dots in France either. Let’s make a list of the other countries with dots: Belgium, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. If you can figure out what these ten countries have in common, then you should be in good shape for solving this map.

Thursday’s hint: On this map, both Norway and Sweden have blue dots in places that are quite cold and remote—far from the countries’ major cities. In order to help you out, we’ll tell you the names of the names of two of the places denoted by these dots. The one in the middle of Norway refers to the municipality of Nord-Fron, which covers a fairly large area in the county of Oppland. The northernmost Swedish dot is Storlien, a ski resort town very close to the border with Norway. What do these two places have in common?

Friday’s hint: See that green dot in the middle of rural Scotland? It doesn’t really indicate a city, since there aren’t any cities in that area. The River Dee passes nearby, so sometimes that area is known as the Royal Deeside. If you haven’t figured out this map yet, we recommend looking up that area to see what it’s best known for.