A note on cartograms
Chapter 1: Context and Concepts

Maps that distort geography to emphasize a specific type of information are called cartograms to imply a combination of map and diagram. The media often publish maps showing world or U.S. population data as cartograms, with the areas of countries or States proportional to their populations. Cartograms may also represent linear data by showing travel time, for example, rather than physical distance between places.

Cartograms have not found widespread application in crime mapping, although they could be useful. For example, urban subdivisions could be shown with their areas proportional to the number of crime incidents. The major limitation in using cartograms for crime data is the lack of software availability to permit their easy preparation. Historically, cartograms have been labor-intensive projects, each needing to be custom drawn. When viewed from a cost-benefit perspective, the novelty and impact of cartograms for crime data have not been seen as worth the cost.

Chapter 1: Context and Concepts
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Mapping Crime: Principle and Practice, by Keith Harries, Ph.D., December 1999