‘Using either your own family history or a fictitious one, create a family tree using a pedigree or genealogy chart. Now use this family lineage to create a cartogram that plots where these family members were located. Look at some examples online if you’re not familiar with any of these ways of presenting information.’
I began by scribbling my family tree – which was fairly easy, except that I realised it needed to be fairly basic for clarity. I feel like I’m leaving out very important parts of my extended family, as we are lucky enough to actually know and like each other very much!
So apologies to loved ones who aren’t on here, which also includes the Canadian branch of my extended family (my Grandpas youngest sister’s line)…
In order to create a bit more interest, I decided to use apples on my family tree. Heres my basic vector shape.
I bit of decoration (a portion of a fancy ampersand) and my Grandparents names…I’ll return to this part in a bit!
Unlike family tress, I wasn’t familiar with cartograms at all – Im guessing anyone who has studied geography knows all about them!
I found some of the charts preserve the familiar proportions of a traditional map…this one has exploded views.
This particular map shows the distribution of chronically ill and disabled people in the UK. The first portion is detailed, but includes a simplified view…
But quite a few show this weird bulbous distortion, where colour combined with size is used to display the relevant data. I find it a bit freaky and confusing to look at, but thats just me.
I was aware that many UK maps have a lot of counties – this is quite a lot of detail that could perhaps be simplified – what about regions?
Here’s one I found which is nice and clear, giving me a good point of reference.
I created my own UK map, with a combination of image trace and freehand alterations. This is a digital rough, showing the regions we all live in. (The pale purple shows the ’empty’ regions where I don’t have any family.)
Returning to my family tree, heres everyone in place, but I need to link the two pieces of information together.
Heres a screen shot of my work in progress…At this point I realised that some greens were too similar – they are hard to distinguish on the apples.
I revised my colour choices. Incidentally I also had a look at colour blind guidelines, and tried to work in tonal variations but Im aware red and green are a difficult combination of colours. (I also kept the ‘scruffy’ lines linking the apples as I think they are a bit more characterful)
My Grandparents don’t appear on the map, as they are no longer with us, but this may cause confusion because they do appear in the key.
Heres my final version….
Family Tree & Cartogram (Please click to enlarge)
The red is quite dominant, and at first I wanted to show the start of my family in red – my grandparents. But I think it balances the image better this way, and is also appropriate, in that my family originates from the South East (I was born there too).
In hindsight, I could have mapped my Grandparents former location, it just didn’t seem quite right emotionally – daft really – and I’ve probably made my chart less polished but never mind.