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Posted by on Aug 26, 2011 in Featured Maps | 8 comments

Naming Rivers and Places

Naming Rivers and Places

A map doing the rounds at the moment (thanks to a plug from flowingdata) is Derek Watkin’s brilliant map of “generic” terms for rivers in the United States (below).The map shows how different cultural and linguistic factors have influenced the naming of geographic features in the US. For example French settlers named the streams they encountered “bayous”.   The number of rivers in the US, combined with Derek’s brilliant design, make this a really compelling map. Inspired by this work I have quickly (with much less cartographic flair) extracted the major rivers and streams in Great Britain from the Ordnance Survey’s Strategi dataset and coloured them according to whether they are a “river”, “canal” (not sure if this really counts in terms of naming), “water”, “afon” (Welsh for river) and “brook”. You can see that a clear geography exists. I was not surprised by all the “afons” being in Wales but I was surprised to see so many “waters” in Scotland.     On the topic of naming, settlement...

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Posted by on Oct 26, 2010 in Featured Maps, Surnames | 1 comment

Halloween Surname Map

Halloween Surname Map

Just for a bit of fun, I have produced a map of the places you are most likely to meet someone with a “scary” surname. I have only thought of a few off the top of my head (Bat, Death, Devil, Fear, Fright, Ghost, Halloween, Skeleton and Witch), but it looks like the Bristol area is a popular place for scary names. Happy...

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Posted by on Nov 17, 2009 in Surnames | 0 comments

CASA Working Paper

CASA Working Paper

My Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) working paper titled “Family Names as Indicators of Britain’s Changing Regional Geography” has been published online. The paper is one of my PhD upgrade documents and contains the results from much of the research I have completed in my first year.  I begin by outlining the significance of surnames in Britain before outlining some of the spatial analysis I have employed to discover if there is a regionality in the British populations’ surnames, and whether this has changed between 1881 and 2001. My results contain plenty of maps to demonstrate where I think the regions fall and I accompany these with a discussion of the appropriateness of each of the methodologies I have used. I must stress that this is a working paper and therefore provides a benchmark on the way to completed research- many of my results and the subsequent conclusions have yet to undergo the rigours of peer review. You can download a copy of the paper here. I have...

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Posted by on Sep 22, 2009 in Featured Maps | 1 comment

Roads Marking Landscape

Roads Marking Landscape

Ben Fry has produced a map of the USA’s landscape patterns by plotting only its roads. His All Streets project involved collating network data covering all the roads in the lower 48 United States (26 million road segments!) and mapping them (see below). It is a very simple idea that produces remarkable results. Roads are good representations of population density and the economic value of an area; they also try to follow a line of least resistance. Roads tend to avoid going across the grain of the landscape so you find them concentrating along valleys rather than up the side of mountains. This is clear on the West Coast of America, for example. The resulting image looks like it could have been taken from a satellite and works especially well due to the size of the USA and the quantity of its roads. Although nowhere near as effective, I have attempted to do the same for Great Britain (see below) using data from Open Street Map. From this you...

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Posted by on Sep 10, 2009 in Featured Maps, Surnames | 0 comments

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Featured Map: "Non-British Names Map"

Featured Map: "Non-British Names Map"

I wanted to avoid the misleading effects of poorly selected spatial units and inappropriate data categorisation in my next Featured Map. I produced it for a forthcoming CASA Working Paper to inform my analysis of general surname trends in Great Britain by accounting for areas of large numbers of “non-British” names. By running Electoral Roll data through UCL’s Onomap classification I was able to classify people’s names according to their origin, and extract all the names that were not classified as “English”, “Scottish”, “Welsh” and “Cornish”. This method is, of course, not completely perfect but it provides very good context to my analysis. I have opted for 10 categories and small spatial units (Output Areas) to emphasise the clustering of  “non-British” names around urban centres. Reproducing the map at Admin. District level gives the impression that the most of Britain is inhabited by people with “non-British” names- something that is clearly not the...

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