The maps referred to here are produced by the statisticians and cartographers at Worldmapper.org, and they use a simple but powerfully effective method to convey information: they shrink or swell portions of the world map to indicate the magnitude of the statistics being shown.
We love our maps. At first glance, people are shocked by them: the shapes look familiar, yet everything is absurdly distorted. Without even thinking, they have learned something about the world they live in.
Most of our data comes from sources such as United Nations reports and is often tucked away in appendices. No one wants to look at those figures, and it would be hard to provoke any excitement by confronting someone with spreadsheets filled with numbers. But you just can't help looking at these pictures. After all, a new view of the world, rather like the famous Earthrise photo taken by Apollo astronauts, is a compelling sight.
Here's a pair of maps that speak volumes:
New Scientist: Change the way you see the world (subscription required)
If you don't subscribe to New Scientist--and you should; it's a very readable weekly that wipes the floor with every other magazine that even attempts to communicate with a lay audience--you can go directly to Worldmapper.org and groove on the mappage therein.
Hat Tip: BLDG BLOG via Althouse