8. The Wood and the Trees

  1. Daniel Dorling

Published Online: 5 JUL 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118353929.ch8

The Visualization of Spatial Social Structure

The Visualization of Spatial Social Structure

How to Cite

Dorling, D. (2012) The Wood and the Trees, in The Visualization of Spatial Social Structure, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118353929.ch8

Author Information

  1. Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 JUL 2012
  2. Published Print: 3 AUG 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781119962939

Online ISBN: 9781118353929



  • bars;
  • circles;
  • glyphs;
  • pies;
  • pyramids;
  • rings;
  • visual representations


This chapter begins with the simplest of glyphs and then focuses on the more complex and a little harder to understand, although not necessarily less successful, representations. The aim is to begin to learn what it is that makes glyphs work as visual representations, and how, when and why they fail. Size is used here to represent the total population of a place. Circles, when divided into two rings, can be used to show discrete states at two points in time across many places. One of the most popular forms of glyph in current use is the polygon or its inverse structure, the weather-vane graph. The simplest chart is made up of bars, one bar for each variable, and its height drawn in proportion to the value of that variable. This is illustrated through images depicting the detailed national composition of industry in Britain by employee status and gender.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

Charts and graphs; Random variables