Map #104: November 5, 2018

Difficulty Level: 7

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.) This map has kind of a wonky geometric scale in an attempt to illustrate a wide range of values. Note also that two dots that should overlap perfectly in Mumbai have been slightly staggered so you can see them both. This map also reflects a lot of consolidation that has taken place in the last decade or so; if you’re wondering why there aren’t dots in various cities, particularly in Western Europe, it’s probably because that dot got merged with a different dot. Consequently, the final version of this map is actually somewhat frustrating—nevertheless, it’s better to have a frustrating map than no map. As always, your job is to figure out what this proportional symbol map represents.

Stumped? Check back Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for hints about where to focus your investigation. The answer will be posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 on account of the Veteran’s Day holiday. Good luck!

Tuesday’s hint: First things first, a good start would be to identify the dots on this map that are not in national capital cities. What do those cities have in common?

Wednesday’s hint: Yesterday’s hint mentioned the importance on this map of cities that aren’t capitals: New York (twice), Mumbai (twice), Frankfurt, Zurich, Lagos, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Dubai, Almaty, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Toronto, and Casablanca. “Wait, Shenzhen?” I hear you cry. Yeah, I’m sorry about that one. There are actually two yellow dots in southern China, one for Hong Kong and one for Shenzhen. When I staggered the two dots in Mumbai, I didn’t realize that the Hong Kong and Shenzhen dots also overlapped so much that you couldn’t tell there were two of them. They have been duly staggered. As long as we’re on the subject of Shenzhen, let’s focus our attention there. What is unique about that city? And what solution can you propose to the map that can possibly explain why there are dots in Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, but not in other Chinese cities such as Beijing?

Thursday’s hint: There’s also a dot on this map in the city of Hamilton, Bermuda, which is perhaps a surprising place to see represented. Bermuda is an interesting island. It has a very small population, but it has a big international presence because of its loose tax laws and its status as a center of the insurance industry. As a result, a lot of important companies are based there.

Friday’s hint: What’s most important to note about this map is that all of the dots on this map are in places that are major financial centers. Not that you could tell from this map, but one of those dots in New York is centered right on Wall Street. The other New York dot is somewhat more complicated.