An ongoing conversation about techniques and visualization practice
Mapping globalization: Visualizing the network of global trade
PEER REVIEW COMMENT No. 1 – This is a creative animation; when all of the global trade is included it does appear as if global trade is truly global, as the map is literally filled with connections. But the story is quite different, when one only considers the top 75%, 50% or 25% of the global trade: here the marginal countries drop out of the network and only the major industrialized nations remain. This large scale visualization tells a clear story in a creative manner, but the figure could perhaps be improved by adding a bit of color to liven the picture or layer more information (such as content of trade, say). It might also be useful to make the edges more transparent, so that the map shows through even when full.
PEER REVIEW COMMENT No. 2 – This visualization uses an interactive layout to show how regions of the world are integrated through trade. At the most integrated level when 100% of global trade is depicted, the entire world appears integrated. When that level is dropped to 75% of global trade, the picture is very different. The wealthiest nations, and within them – regions, remain. This visualization is very effective already, but perhaps a heat color pattern on the underlying picture or variable line thickness would be a nice addition, to help contextualize each ‘slice.’ The dynamic elements are rhetorically effective – the inequality jumps out in the contrast between the slices – but I wonder how effective it would be to shade ties by proportion of world trade and then layer the information as a single figure?
PEER REVIEW COMMENT No. 3 – This map does making a striking clear visual case for the inequality among national actors involved in the global economy. Its use of edge thresholds leads us naturally to the author’s conclusion without needing to convince us with captions and supplementary material. I would love to see the edges draw with edge opacity proportional to the trade volume represented by the tie (this might yield a single image that displays all ties, but still permits those few, elite, high-volume ties to stand out).
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