Map #25: February 6, 2017

Difficulty Level: 4

This map is a proportional symbol map of the world. (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 thing. Larger circles indicate that the thing in question has more of this week’s mystery statistic. Unlike our previous proportional symbol maps, we have added black outlines around each circle to help you distinguish between overlapping circles. There are a few places on this map where there are a lot of circles. While some effort has been put into placing them as accurately as possible, this has inevitably been difficult to do in cases where many circles overlap. Finally, as was the case with Map #19, there is a minimum threshold for a symbol to be placed on this map. 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, February 13. Good luck!

Monday’s warning: Many of you are going to write in and say that you think that there are circles missing from this map. Perhaps there’s something you read about in the news, and you’re wondering why it isn’t here. In all likelihood, you won’t be wrong. But this map is complete and correct in its current form if you believe the particular set of official data that was used to make it.

Tuesday’s hint: The country on this map with the most circles is Germany, where there are so many all on top of each other that it’s hard to make much sense out of them. If you look closely, however, you’ll notice that none of the circles is in the northeastern part of the country, which was the bit that formed the country of East Germany from 1945 through 1989. This could be a helpful observation. Additionally, two other countries with a lot of dots are Japan and Italy (we’ll ignore South Korea, which also has a lot of dots, for the time being). The first question you might want to ask yourself is: what do Germany, Italy, and Japan have in common?

Wednesday’s hint: On the right edge of this map is a single island in the Pacific Ocean with three circles (two yellow, one cyan). That’s Guam. Guam is a self-governing territory of the United States. In order to solve this map, you might want to investigate the economy of Guam. What do people who live there do for a living? Why might somebody move from the U.S. mainland to Guam?

Thursday’s hint: Take a look at the dot in Turkey. It’s located in the eastern section of the city of Adana, Turkey’s fifth most populous city. This dot was in the news a lot in the week or so following July 16, 2016. See if you can figure out why.

Friday’s hint: Often, the best places to look on a map are at the outliers. In this case, there’s only one dot in the entire Western Hemisphere. It’s in Cuba. If you look on a map of Cuba to try to figure out what part of the country it is in, you’ll discover that it’s next to Guantanamo Bay. Another outlier on this map is the dot in the middle of the Indian Ocean. If you look that up on a map, you’ll find that it’s on an island called Diego Garcia in the Chagos Archipelago, part of the British Indian Ocean Territory. What kind of person would be likely to live on Diego Garcia and in Guantanamo Bay?