Caroline Rose, University of Wisconsin - Madison
The design of this map allows it to represent formation size and location as well as express chronology, a dimension which is often difficult to convey in a static map. I found that the data lent itself to the curve described by the scaled symbols, which shows all of these attributes gracefully. This curving form assumed by the symbols is the most unique and visually striking (and what might be called bizarre) aspect of this map. While neatly representing scalar, location, and temporal data, it also serves to visually highlight a geo-temporal trend: the broad eastward bend at the bottom of the curve shows Thailandís recent prevalence in big-way event hosting. Follow the curve back through time, and it sweeps through the Atlantic during the years of tradeoff between the United States and Europe. The preceding arch over the United States illustrates that countryís prominence in big-way organization for more than a decade, and a final slight upturn acknowledges the USSRís contribution to the sport in its early years.
As far as this mapís theme, such a mad idea as diving out of airplanes (and balloons, helicopters, etc.) may be called, by some, bizarre. As a skydiver myself, I concede that to outsiders, our unique sport, our lifestyle, may often seem simply off-the-wall.
Data sources for this map included a chart of formation sizes, locations and years common to the websites of groups interested in formation world records. The dive designs were based on many photographs of the seven most recent formations, as taken by skydivers outside the formation with helmet cameras.