Diana Olson
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9 Maps to Change How You See the World

Maps give us a graphic understanding of the world around us – whether it be global geography or the tricky intersection just around the corner. They help us to grasp concepts of size and distance… but what about IQ scores and vegetation? Or flags? This creative and varied collection of world maps will open your mind, no matter where you live or how much coffee you've had today.

1. NATIONAL IQ SCORES.

This first map shows average national IQ scores – a score derived from standardized tests to assess intelligence. The jury's still out as to why IQ scores vary so much around the world, with theories ranging from environmental factors to genetic influence.


2. FLAGS OF THE WORLD

This creative map needs little explanation – just check it out and enjoy!


3. PAID MATERNITY LEAVE

Parental leave is a hot topic these days, in terms of both length and alternation between mothers and fathers. This map gives a broad sense of global positions.


4. VISUALIZING GLOBAL POPULATION DENSITY

While we all vaguely know that Asia is densely populated, this simple map and illustration makes that understanding starkly clear.


5. NATIONAL ATTITUDES TO FOREIGNERS 

This surprising and interesting map uses data from the World Economic Forum, to rate how welcoming countries are to foreign visitors. The information was gathered using a survey in which people were simply asked, "How welcome are foreign visitors in your country?"


6. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

Scandinavia and northern Europe stand out as the frontrunners in this 2013 map, which shows respect for media freedom. We'd certainly like to see some more white on this one in years to come!


7. VEGETATION ON EARTH

The dark green on this map indicates areas lushest in vegetation, while the pale colors point to areas which are sparse in vegetation cover - due to snow, drought, rock, or urbanization.


8. ANNUAL COFFEE CONSUMPTION PER CAPITA

This highly caffeinated map shows the amount of coffee consumed annually (in kilograms) by each person in a given country or region. The global trend has been rising upward since the economic downturn of 2007.


9. TYPOGRAPHIC TEXT

Last but certainly not least, this artistic creation depicts each of the world's countries using its name, shaped to be geographically correct. Smart AND pretty!