2017 was an eventful year, shaped by a confluence of environmental, social and political moments that impacted people across the globe. Though global in their scope and impact, many of these events were local, impacting various locations in different ways. To ring in the new year, we at CARTO wanted to look back and showcase some of the maps that tell the story of 2017.

The Total Solar Eclipse

If there is one thing that can bring people together, it is the shared awe that is felt when presented with the vastness and majesty of the celestial universe. The 2017 solar eclipse, was a source of countless clever tweets and hopefully helped to create a new generation of astrophysicists. The team at CARTO put together The Total Solar Eclipse Map to Rule All Solar Eclipse Maps, providing insight into the best spots for optimal eclipse viewing.

Global Refugee Crisis

The global refugee crisis continued to be a major story in 2017. With millions of people displaced from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, as well as the growing Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, tensions and challenges continue to arise as the nations around the world attempt to shelter and protect the world’s refugees. But with limited opportunities for asylum, refugees continue to find themselves at extreme risk around the globe.

The UNHCR’s Refugee Project maps out 42 years of refugee movement, and is an incredible reference for not only the past but also the future of global refugee movement:

Visualizer Hans Hack’s Aleppo in London/Berlin overlays the damage to the city during Syria’s civil war on maps of these European capitals, providing incredible insight into the scope of the destruction that forced many Syrians from their homes:

International Sanctions

The imposition of sanctions against nations like Russia, North Korea, and Iran, and entities within those nations has dominated much of the political conversation in recent years. With changing priorities coming out of the Trump White House, 2017 has been no different. Enigma’s Sanctions Tracker maps the full picture of U.S. sanctions since 1994 and makes it easy to see the changes to U.S. foreign policy priorities in 2017.

Global Cyber Attacks

In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election the importance of cybersecurity and the impact of cyber attacks has been painted in stark relief. Norse, a cyber-security company that provides threat attack intelligence, and its Cyber Attacks data visualization mapping the sources and targets of cyber attacks in real time, are a powerful tool reflecting our focus on cybersecurity in 2017 and its vast importance in the years to come.

Natural Disasters and Global Climate change

The impact of global climate change was strongly felt in 2017, and embodied in the preponderance of natural disasters. With global damage estimates reaching $300 Billion, the deadly hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires of the past year have proven incredibly costly.

Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria battered the United states and Caribbean this fall, resulting in massive structural damage and loss of life.

Flooding this summer in South Asia, for example, resulted in over 1000 fatalities:

Hopefully 2017 can serve as a reminder as to the importance of prevention and preparedness as humanity continues to fight global climate change.

Catalonia and Beyond

With the Catalan Independence referendum in October, the eyes of the world were turned to Spain. Elsewhere across Europe, separatist groups and independence movements continued to grow in 2017, including in Scotland where Brexit may lead to another referendum on independence. The Guardian has mapped out some of the largest and most vocal independence movements across the continent.

The Geographic Divide of Oscar Films

2017 has brought us a mountain of powerful films from a diverse group of young artists, but the year’s cinematic story got off to a bit of a rocky start at the 2017 Oscars, due to a memorable award announcement snafu. The team over at The Pudding took the opportunity to see if cultural and geographical divides corresponded in relation to 2017 Oscar-nominated films.

Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy

In mid-August 2017, the “Unite the Right” Rally, held by heavily armed white supremacists to denounce the removal of Charlottesville, Virginia’s Robert E. Lee statue, and the subsequent counter-protest, was one of the years most tragic and explosive events. In the wake of the event, and the murder of counter-protester Heather Heyer, a number of other confederate monuments around the country were removed. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Public Confederate Symbol map tracks the location of these divisive monuments.

The Amplification of Women’s Voices

2017 was bookended by major events reflecting the amplification of women’s voices around the world. Though the biggest of the Women’s Marches was in Washington, DC, with approximately half a million marchers, these protests advocating for improved women’s and human rights went truly global, with worldwide participation estimates reaching 5 Million.

Count Love, a visualization of location data related to resistance protests is headlined by Women’s Marches around the US:

In October 2017, the #MeToo movement shed light on the prevalence of misogyny, sexual harassment, and sexual assault against women globally and amplified the voices of victims. Below, use of the hashtag around the world is mapped out from October 15th through 17 as the movement went viral:

Here in the age of social media, where people around the globe are more connected than ever, maps can help us to transcend language barriers and tell important stories. We look forward to seeing how 2018 redraws the world again.