Friday, April 19, 2019

European Gerrymandering

How do you make regional funding in the European Union interesting? With an interactive map - that's how. As a map fan you might already be intrigued by The Pudding's headline Why EU Regions are Redrawing Their Borders. When I tell you that the article is illustrated with a sublime story map then I know you will be hooked.

Maarten Lambrechts' report into how some EU countries are gerrymandering their regional boundaries in order to qualify for European Union funding is explained with the use of an interactive map. The map is used to explain how the EU calculates regional aid based on economic development, which EU countries are currently more and less economically developed and how some countries are redrawing their regional boundaries in order to ensure that they qualify for EU funding.

As you scroll through the article the story map updates to illustrate these points. I particularly like how the map also updates when you hover over highlighted words in the text. Some words in the map sidebar are highlighted in color. These colors match the colors used on the choropleth map. If you mouse-over these words in the sidebar then the countries matching the selected data range are highlighted on the the map. Later in the story country names are highlighted in white in the text and when hovered over these named countries are also highlighted on the map.

The map itself is completely custom made using SVG. This allows the data on the map to be animated to further illustrate how some regions are being redrawn to ensure areas qualify for economic support from the EU. At one point the regions on the map animate into a chart showing the economic development of all the regions in each country (if you scroll back up the page you can watch these points on the chart animate back to form a map of Europe).

In Europe capital cities are often more economically developed than the surrounding region. Why EU Regions are Redrawing Their Borders shows how some countries have redrawn their regional borders so that the capital is placed in one region and the surrounding region then becomes another separate poorer region, which then qualifies for EU funding.

No comments: