"This book could not have been made ten years ago. Computers weren't powerful enough." So opens this marvellous volume from datamongers James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti. The pair have crunched vast data sets to craft 100 information-rich maps about the capital.
As you might expect, they've pounded the census data for all it's worth, spinning out maps of ethnicity and immigration, language and professions. But they've also corralled information from dozens of other sources. The transport visualisations are particularly impressive. A map of the skies shows all the flight paths into London, whose invisible topographies include the Lambourne and Ockham Stacks round which planes circle before approaching Heathrow. A chart subtitled Hardly Anyone is Riding the Emirates Air Line shows just how quiet the cable car is. They even acquired data from Londonist to show how words such as 'Olympics' and 'Royalty' rose and fell in usage over the past six years.
The book is infinitely compelling, one you'll return to time and again, and full of 'wow, you have to see this' moments. It reinforces the notion that information really can be beautiful. Finally, the intelligent infographic has been grappled from the claws of marketeers and PR companies, who've long abused the medium to peddle dodgy survey results and client messages.
The Information Capital by James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti is published by Particular Books on 30 October, but can be pre-ordered via the link. Declaration: Londonist contributed content to two of the graphics in the book.
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