Flow and Movement

Space and geography are inextricably linked with time, driving our desire to represent flow and movement through maps.  To move beyond simple arrows across a page is our intent, but first we must learn from an environmental scan of this cartographic landscape.  What approaches exist? How are they aligned with different types of data? What software and applications are necessary? What technical expertise is required to design, implement, host, and maintain an interactive flow map online? 

This first part of an on-going project on flow and movement mapping focuses on varieties of cartographic representations of flow. This webpage suggests a first cut at distinguishing among ways that flow has been mapped.  In each case, every data set could be represented differently, if the map’s designer chose to do so.  By understanding the full range of what types of flow maps are possible, starting with this small collection, we aim to encourage scholars to experiment with different mapping approaches. Yes, we can move beyond a simple arrows and different line widths.

This work was funded by a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (HD-51228-11).