Friday, November 20, 2009

Visualizing the Rise and Decline of Four Empires

(Video Link)

Pedro M. Cruz, a graduate student in information visualization and interaction design, created this time-elapsed representation of the rise and decline of the British, French, Portuguese, and Spanish overseas empires from 1800 to 2000. He writes:

The data refers to the evolution of the top 4 maritime empires of the XIX and XX centuries by extent. I chose the maritime empires because of their more abrupt and obtuse evolution as the visual emphasis is on their decline. The first idea to represent a territory independence was a mitosis like split — it’s harder to implement than it looks. Each shape tends to retain an area that’s directly proportional to the extent of the occupied territory on a specific year. The datasource is mostly our beloved wikipedia. The split of a territory is often the result of an extent process and it had to be visualized on a specific year. So I chose to pick the dates where it was perceived a de facto independence (e.g. the most of independence declarations prior to the new state’s recognition). Dominions of an empire, were considered part of that empire and thus not independent.

via Hit & Run


bob said...

It's easy to forget how dominant these countries once were and how impermanent power is.

John said...

It truly is. Isn't that what Alyssa argued in Krull? "Power is fleeting; love is eternal."

Actually, she was optimistic about love, but she was right about power.