Some interesting maps have been doing the rounds recently using names as a proportional, locative symbol. This is work I've been involved in over the last few years with our map of Irish surnames but James Cheshire at UCL has done a great job with his typographic map of US surnames. The map will be published in a forthcoming National Geographic. James has also done a similar map exploring London's surnames . This work is well worth a look and illustrates how applying some simple cartographic design can create an interesting, informative and attention-grabbing map.