Flow maps in cartography are by definition of Phan (2005) "a mix of maps and flow charts, that show the movement of objects from one location to another, such as the number of people in a migration, the amount of goods being traded, or the number of packets in a network".
Flow maps according to Harris (1999) "can be used to show movement of almost anything, including tangible things such as people, products, natural resources, weather, etc, as well as intangible things such as know-how, talent, credit of goodwill". Flow maps can indicate things like:
- What it is that flows, moves, migrates, etc.
- What direction the flow is moving and/or what the source and destination are.
- How much is flowing, being transferred, transported, etc.
- General information about what is flowing and how it is flowing.
In contrast to route maps, flow maps show little aside from the paths from one point to another.
Other types of flow maps
Beside the flow maps in cartography there are several other kind of flow maps:
- Baker flow map of fluid flows
- Blood flow maps, see history of neuroimaging
- Flow map or solution operator, see random dynamical system
- Process flow map of a manufacturing process
- Sankey diagram in petroleum engineering
- Traffic Flow Maps
- XSL flow maps, see XSL Formatting Objects
- Doantam Phan (2005). Flow Map Layout Stanford University InfoVis 2005
- Robert L. Harris (1999). Information Graphics. p.157.
- Borden D. Dent (1999). Cartography : Thematic map design. McGraw-Hill. New York. 1999.
- Alan MacEachren. (1995). How maps work: Representation, Visualization, and Design. Guilford Press. New York.
- Robert L. Harris (1999). Information Graphics. Oxford University Press US
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