The Distribution of unemployment in Britain 1981 shown as a surface.

A lattice of 300 by 450 points was draped over the distribution of unemployment in 10,444 census wards projected on an equal population cartogram software by author and E.S.R.I on Archimedes and Sun computers.

A surface of this detail can be drawn by draping a net of lines over it. The volume is proportional to the numbers of people out of work, the height, to the proportions. A tall spike can be made out rising from the centre of the capital. The ring of low rates can also be seen and the more mountainous areas of the north rising out of the foothills of the West Midlands are also apparent. Part of the impression gained is a result of the angle and elevation of the view. The contouring algorithm also failed to cope with the detail of the Western Isles. A picture like this may look revealing and is certainly eye-catching, but if we wish to compare places flat representation allow more reliable comparisons to be made.