Thematic Maps with Graduated & Proportional Symbols

This set of maps was created in the course Thematic Cartography in my third semester of CDE.

For this assignment, two thematic maps were created that show key figures of the population in the Czech Republic. The main objective was to understand the difference between graduated and proportional symbols in thematic cartography.

I. Births and Unemployment in Czechia (Graduated Symbols)

In this map I decided to cover the potential relationship between the rate of unemployment and the amount of births in the municipalities of the Czech Republic. The number of births is depicted with a symbol of a baby face, the size of which varies gradually in five steps. Additionally, the rate of unemployment can be found in the color of each of the symbols for each municipality.
This sets these two phenomena in a relationship and potential pattern and regularities can be displayed and discovered.

With the result of this map, however, I could not see any direct relationship between the rate of unemployment and the number of births in the Czech Republic. In contrast to the findings from some studies and examples, which suspect a connection between these two key figures, the distribution in the municipalities of the Czech Republic does not show a clear, regular or interesting pattern which would for example show that high unemployment leads to a reduced number of births.

The design of the legend of the graduated symbols had to be realized in this way because of the complex symbol of the baby face. Otherwise I would prefer to have a legend with overlapping symbols because of the more compact design and the improved comparability between the symbol sizes. But because of the playful design of the map a complex symbol seemed essential and a simple circle shape would not have been adequate. And who said that thematic maps have to look unexciting and dull?

II. Divorces in the Czech Republic (Proportional Symbols)

For the second topic of this assignment I chose the number of divorces in the Czech Republic. This time the size of the symbols is not split into a defined number of classes but is depicted as proportional symbols. To use proportional symbols means that every value of the phenomena will result in a symbol with a different size. This makes this approach a more accurate and detailed way of showing information on the map. Small differences between the values of the map can be seen by the reader and provide more information.

The legend of a map with proportional symbols can not include value ranges associated with a specific size of a symbol, because each size is unique for a single value. That’s why a legend with a graph, which shows the growth of the map symbol, is used. The symbols in this type of legend serve as intermediate steps to better illustrate the increasing size but are not a listing of the only sizes which can be found in the map.