Flow map

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Charles Joseph Minard’s map of French wine exports for 1864.

In cartography, flow maps are 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".[1]


Minard's map of Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign of 1812.

Flow maps can be used to show movement of almost anything, such as:[2]

  • 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.[2]

Other types of flow maps[edit]

A non-cartographic flow map showing the relative percentages of cardiac output delivered to major organ systems

Beside the flow maps in cartography there are several other kind of flow maps:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Phan, Doantam; Xiao, Ling; Yeh, Ron; Hanrahan, Pat; Winograd, Terry (2005). "Flow Map Layout". Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Symposium on Information Visualization (InfoVis '05): 219–224. doi:10.1109/INFVIS.2005.1532150.
  2. ^ a b Harris, Robert L. (1999). Information Graphics. p. 157.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]