Modifiable Area Unit Problem [MAUP] / Cultural indicators
The aim of this project is to showcase the inherit problems in the Modifiable Area Unit Problem (MAUP). The term normally associated with the problems or considerations arising from the use of geographical data on a more aggregated spatial level than the initial collection level. Selective selection of zone boundaries can create different outcomes and skewed results of the ‘real’ distribution of elements. When viewing zoned maps, it is therefore important to bear in mind that the zoning could be subjective and the outcome greatly dependent on what the creators of the maps wanted to achieve.
The data for this project is rather simple and consists of a layer with Danish monuments (
Monuments_DK) and layers with the old amter (provinces) (
nuts3) and Danish municipalities (
The task was to produce three different maps, displaying different regions and thereby a different distrubition of monuments. Hereby we show that different boundaries tell different stories.
The maps were created by spatially joining the
Monuments_DK layer to the region layers and then calculating the amount of monuments per area. The regions in maps B and C were decided by looking at the number of monuments per area at a municipality level. In Map B, adjacent municipalities with respectively high or low numbers of monuments per area were joined into regions with similar high or low numbers, and similarly in Map C adjacent high and low number of monuments per area were joined together to equal out the numbers.
The three maps tell somewhat different stories of the distribution of Danish monuments. While perhaps not being as extreme as possible, the maps have different values in different maps at the same geographical locations. Map B has some smaller regions in some places, showing specific geographic location where the concentration of monuments is higher. These concentrations fail to show on map C, where some of the regions are larger. Together the maps perhaps give a good picture of the distribution of monuments in Denmark, while not being very usefull alone. From this it is evident that the largest concentrations of monuments are in the capital region and close to the german border, and that there are some large concentration on small areas in these regions.
Looking at the maps it is evident that the smaller and more deformed the regions are, the more extreme they can be, while larger and more uniform zones have a tendency to show numbers closer to average.
An example of map zone manipulation happening today, is Gerrymandering, the process of changing the electoral boundaries to create a specific outcome, which is seen in the United States and used to keep the ruling parties elected.