Medal map shows world distribution of Olympic wins

Friday 10 August 2012

Map showing distribution of Olympic medals won

A researcher at the University of St Andrews has created a map which displays the spread of Olympic Medals gained at 2012 in London.

The interactive online atlas is continually updated to show how the medals are distributed across the globe, and allows viewers to explore the distribution of medals by population.

Dr Carson Farmer, Research Fellow in the Centre for GeoInformatics in the School of Geography and Geosciences at the University, created the map after realising no existing maps provided any real context for comparing Team GB with other nations. Dr Farmer said: “Being a geographer, I decided to add context by creating a contiguous cartogram where we could compare total medals versus per capita medals visually.

“A cartogram also provides context, in that the general shapes and locations of the countries remain (relatively) close to what people expect, so for instance, it is very easy to see that Europe has lots of medals per capita.

“Basically it warps the shapes of countries to change their area relative to some measured value, which in this case is the number of medals achieved.”

The size of each country is based on the total number of medals it has achieved, weighted by the type of medal (gold, silver, bronze). For example, a country with one gold medal should be approximately the same size as a country with three bronze medals.

In addition, the version of the map which shows relative per capita medal counts, shrinks China down significantly factoring out the bias towards populace nations.

The map shows the UK is punching way above its weight compared to most countries including China and the US; India is doing very poorly considering its population; and that Slovenia and New Zealand are leading countries in per capita medal performance. Maps are updated with online medal tables every hour, so the graphic is constantly up-to-date.

Note to editors

The map is available from please credit the University of St Andrews.

Dr Carson Farmer is available on 01334 463 942 or 0776 624 7884.

Category University news

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