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Seeing India through a Rooted Map

Rooted maps break from tradition, plot regions according to GDP, industry and more

Published: Jul 16, 2013 06:42:39 AM IST
Updated: Jul 17, 2013 12:24:28 PM IST

The art of map-making is defined by objectivity.But objectivity can have little meaning when strategising in the board room. For instance, the physical size of a region might say nothing about its spending power.

Economic, social and cultural distances often matter more than the physical distances. And the traditional maps you might see on corporate walls say nothing about it.

Is there a fix? Welcome to rooted maps that help shape strategy.

At first glance, the maps, an idea of Pankaj Ghemawat, the youngest-ever full professor at Harvard Business School, and presently with IESE Business School, Spain, seem to be just another variation of a pie chart, with the size of a region representing the share, say of GDP or trade. But, on second glance, you find that a rooted map can reveal more because it superimposes itself on the conventional image.

For example, red dots on a traditional map—a common way to represent the geographic spread of a company—might show how the Indian IT sector is considerably global. A rooted map based on the revenue share will reveal the overdependence on two regions—the US and the UK, both English-speaking.

This can be useful to policy makers too. Ghemawat’s more recent redrawn map depicts India based on the size of state GDP. “As usual, coasts and capital are more prosperous but politics and history mingle with geography,” he says.

For the Map Click Here

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(This story appears in the 26 July, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Abhijeet Chatterjee

    Very very good! I wish to have more details on the Rooted Map. For example if I click on Maharashtra, I should get more details on the state GDP. In other words macro to micro stats of Maharashtra.

    on Jul 18, 2013