II.10 Zones of Invention - Patterns of Patents

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Ingo Günther

Over the last 20 years, sculptor and media artist Ingo Günther has mapped social, scientific, political, and economic data on globes as navigational guides in a globalized world. The Worldprocessor #286 globe featured here plots the total number of patents granted worldwide, beginning with nearly 50,000 in 1883, reaching 650,000 in 1993 (near the North Pole), and rapidly approaching 1 million in 2002 (in the southern hemisphere). Geographic regions where countries offer environments conducive to fostering innovation are represented by topology. Additionally, nations where residents are granted an average of 500 or more U.S. patents per year are called out in red by their respective averages in the years after 2000. View the complete set of more than 300 Worldprocessor globes at http://worldprocessor.org.


Günther, Ingo. 2005. WorldProcessor. Chiayi Art Festival on the Tropic of Cancer. Ji-Tung Art Printing.

Günther, Ingo. 2006. WorldProcessor: Zones of Invention—Patterns of Patents. Courtesy of Ingo Günther. In “2nd Iteration (2006): The Power of Reference Systems,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Deborah MacPherson. http://scimaps.org.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.