A website on geographical data has several awkward decisions to make. What to do
with accents, especially when they can hardly be shown because of the font I use,
what to do about different spellings of names, etc. Another main problem is: "What
is a country?". Therefore some explanations on several issues.
Countries, entities, nations, &c.
Terms used at this site do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on
the part of "geohive" concerning the legal status of any country, territory,
city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers
or boundaries. The designations "more developed", "less developed"
and "least developed" countries, areas or regions are intended for statistical
convenience and do not necessarily express a judgement about the stage reached by
a particular country or area in the developing process.
That being said, what constitutes a 'country'? The easy explanation is 'a group
of humans' that state that a piece of Earth is 'theirs'. They have determined boundaries
to a piece of land and water and they hope that other groups of humans agree. This
is a simple rendering of a very complex matter, which I hope to delve out at a later
Spelling and accents (diacritical marks)
I tend to use the spelling of entities as used by the statistical agency of the
respective countries. If no "roman" spelling is available, I tend to use the ISO
spelling, or the spelling as provided by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN).
As for accents (diacritical marks), I try to use them as much as possible, as they
usually give a good indication of how a name should be pronounced. As I cannot read
(that is and comprehend it) anything apart from the Roman alphabet, I use Roman
transcriptions of names. It also means that sometimes odd looking accents are used,
like a macron (kind of a dash) on top of an "a", or a comma below an "h".
There are sometimes more than one way to romanize a language (like for instance
Chinese and Korean). Then again I favour the one used by the originating country.
As not all diacritical marks are available in the most common fonts (like Verdana,
Arial and Helvetica), I sometimes have to use another one. The easiest one to use
would be MS Arial Unicode, but this 23MB font is not available to most Windows (and
other OSs). So I use Lucida Sans Unicode (often available on Windows machines) for
the difficult transcriptions and Verdana for the rest. Most of the times, there
is a non-accented version (the default) and an accented version (where appropriate)
of a page. If you see a character displayed incorrectly, then check whether you
have the right fonts.
An agglomeration contains the population within the contours of contiguous territory
inhabited at urban levels of residential density without regard to administrative
Population density is usually expressed as the 'number of people per unit of land
area'. But it can also apply to 'number of people per unit of arable land', which
can be more sensible in countries like Egypt. Egypt has a lot of uninhabited desert
and only a small (percentagewise) patch of fertile land along the Nile.
The growth rate is the rate at which a population is increasing (or decreasing)
in a given year due to natural increase and net migration, expressed as a percentage
of the base population.
A canvas of a given area, resulting in an enumeration of the entire population
and often the compilation of other demographic, social, and economic information
pertaining to that population at a specific time.