Migration Map

Tom Chambers
2 min readMar 26, 2021

This is a 3mx2m world map I created for the 2015 Shuffle Festival held in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. The theme of the festival was migration and the organisers asked for a world map highlighting the birthplaces of the ancestors of people who now live in Tower Hamlets.

The first thing I did was collate the survey data collected by the organisers and cluster the points, as there were initially 400, far too many to display meaningfully on a map. As expected it mostly fell on major cities, but apart from that there were people from all over the world. Lots of Australians.

One thing I didn’t forsee was that after the migratory generation, people’s parents tend to be from where they’re from. Which makes sense, it’s only recently we’ve had the ability to seek a new life across the world, and people don’t tend to make that move unless there’s some big change or shift in the place where they’re from, which happens rarely.

The map consists of a reinforced plywood backing with a polycarbonate top to diffuse the LEDs which mark out all the places where people are from. There’s an arduino on the back controlling the cycle through the four generations of collected data. All in all there are about 90 LEDs, which made for a pretty good effect from a distance.