A squinty-eyed look at population densities

(Click through! – Javascript/HTML5/Canvas support required.)

I’ve moved to my own domain! Aaand I’ve been busy working on thesis-related things lately, so I haven’t had time to post anything. I initially saw this blog as an expanded portfolio of sorts, but given my situation I’ve decided to try aim for shorter, more Tumblr-esque posts.

In that spirit, here’s something small that I made to brush up on Javascript. It’s an unabashedly generalized interactive population density map inspired/stolen from a map by William Bunge entitled “Islands of Mankind” that I came across on John Krygier‘s blog. I thought Bunge’s map was a novel way to look at population density, and I’ve tried to stay close to the spirit of the original.

An interesting thing about this map is that each layer is contained in one 23,000 pixel tall spritesheet to reduce load time. An uninteresting thing is that my workflow was to export black and white density images from QGIS (which I’ve been working with more lately), generalize in Illustrator, export each slice and then stitch them together into one image with ImageMagick. I grabbed the population data from here.

Let me know what you think!

EDIT: I incorrectly listed the data as density per square miles originally, but it looks like the GPW data is in fact in kilometers. How embarrassing – my mistake!

13. April 2012 by dwtkns
Categories: Uncategorized | 6 comments

Comments (6)

  1. Wow… I really enjoyed playing with this. Nice Job!!

  2. Please, can you make it capable of going back and forth in time as well? Would be cool to cross-check populational density over a period of time.

  3. This is awesome. Is there any way to add even a light outline to the border of the land masses. Not countries just the actual land masses,

  4. Very cool.

    Suggestion, rather than just labels, also allow for a light ocean background or perhaps country-border outline to assist with orientation as you slide the density higher, I find myself having to slide it back and forth to figure out what I’m looking at.

    And/or perhaps label the highest-density areas, fading the labels in only as needed. . .

  5. Hey, I really like the map, and the clever use of spritesheets, I had never heard of that. I hope you don’t mind I copied your scripts and played around with it to display the data sets I work with, see an example here: file:///E:/temp/spritesheet/lprm.htm
    Let me know if I need to do a better job of crediting…

  6. Very cool and nicely done….Because of the scale it gives the impression that the Americas dont have any areas with more than 400 people/km2. Maybe you could economize on the display by somehow reducing the ocean area …. I was just comparing it to a map we did of Central America – http://gisweb.ciat.cgiar.org/population/map.htm

    It would be interesting to have these as regional maps to see the greater detail.

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