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Olympic Medals Cartogram

The size of each country’s circle represents how many medals they were awarded for that particular year. Scroll back through each summer games to see how countries fared over time. Click the “by ranking” tab to sort the countries into a list.

The graphic was created using a force-directed graph using a particle system. Countries try to locate themselves near where they are geographically located as well as close to geographically neighboring countries. The circles do not overlap. Flash is a bit too slow to be interactive, so there is a pre-render on our side to determine how each year’s layout will appear.

Medals Cartogram

Reader Replies

  1. will mickelson replied
    on Aug 20th, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    hi lee its will I just wanted to say hi and ask you some questions because my mom was talking to me about making a website

  2. Facebook User replied
    on Aug 20th, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    hi lee I just set up an ichat account so i dont know how but reply to me somehow and tell me how we talk love will

  3. wako replied
    on Aug 31st, 2008 at 2:37 am

    Hi Lee,
    I saw this, and the Olympic torches graphic, on the NYTimes and liked them both. Didn’t know you had done. Nice job!

  4. tktim replied
    on Sep 20th, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Can you tell us what software / programs where used to create this Cartogram?

  5. Lee Byron replied
    on Sep 20th, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    sure! The cartogram was build using adobe flash. The layout algorithm is written in actionscript. It uses a soft body force directed graph layout method.

  6. tktim replied
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Thanks – Hopefully this will get incorporated into a more affordable and easy to use open source program soon, maybe OpenOffice.Org. Thanks again.

  7. shaw replied
    on Dec 23rd, 2008 at 12:12 am

    I just checked out the cartogram…It’s almost like a tag cloud!

    The really interesting thing was when I was looking back at history, you see USA and Soviet Union with the largest blocks of medals. It is almost obscene how huge their dot was!

    And then, as time goes on and we move closer to present, you see that the dots all sort of start evening out.

    Seems like we are starting to be on more of a level playing field with other countries.

    I guess as others get more developed and we move to a much more global economy, other countries have a better chance.

    Really nice work having your cartogram in the NY Times. What a wonderful kudos!


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