I would like to build a cartogram map using Web GIS.

I have a basemap and a set of raw data in excel.

I wondered what are the steps to build up a cartogram map using Web GIS?

Note: Originally this Question solicited Answers for both Web GIS and ArcGIS for Desktop. A new Question has been asked focussed on ArcGIS for Desktop (Creating contiguous pixel based cartogram using ArcGIS for Desktop?) and so this one has now been focussed on Web GIS (which itself is still quite broad).

  • Last year I experimented with cartograms as well. For the cartograms I used a tool called ScapeToad.
    – Stefan
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 8:19

3 Answers 3


A few years ago, I too became curious about how to make cartograms. The best tool I could find at the time was a standalone program called Cartogram Generator (deprecated link removed) by Frank Hardisty. It generates a new shapefile from your basemap, distorted according to the attributes you select.

The above is described at this blog as being a java implimentation of the Gastner-Newman diffusion-based contiguous cartogram algorithm. An alternative link to information/software can be found on Gastner's page.

I also posted sample images and some other cartogram-related links and thoughts on my blog.

I don't know what solutions are available to build cartograms within ArcGIS itself.


If you take a look at the Esri Cartography blog from 2009, you will find an article titled "Exploring Data Using Cartograms within ArcGIS Desktop", and link to the Cartogram Geoprocessing Tool version 2, which will supposedly (I have not tried it) will allow you to create cartograms from ArcGIS.

Here, another user has described How To Make Area Cartogram Maps in ArcGIS.


A late answer, but D3 has supported continuous area cartogram creation through an external library for a few years now. Check the interactive example. Note that it expects the map to be in TopoJSON format, not a shapefile.

On the main page there are also examples of Demerse and Dorling cartograms.

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