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FedEx visualizes the world

Usually, our perception of the nations of the  world is based on the well-known globe, showing each country according to its real geographic dimensions.  What if, instead of purely geographic dimensions, we visualized countries based on how much they invest in education, or the amount they export to the rest of the world?  FedEx has developed a tool that shows the world and its countries sized proportionally according to different metrics.  The tool looks at several categories, including Education, Research and Development, and Energy Use and Development.

The tool will show you the world as it is:


And then will compare actual geography to relative geography for three data points inside each category.  Under R&D exports, for example, we see the world as it is, and then we see it proportioned to national investment in R&D:

Here, the United States and Japan are enormous, and France and Germany are disproportionately large, as well.

Next, we see the world scaled according to patents applied for:

Again, Japan and the US are huge, but China and South Korea increase in size, as well.

Lastly, we see the world according to high technology exports:

Here, the US shrinks, but Panama, Cuba, Greenland, and Iceland are larger, as is Indonesia. Africa’s proportions are entirely altered, as well.

The change to countries’ proportions based on their participation in each metric is drastic. This visual representation of the data really emphasizes nations’ economic weight in various sectors, challenging the purely geographic view of our world.

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