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More about the Population map's development, the cartographers and contributors

The Population Map shows the world in an entirely new light! See where the human beings of the world live, and how many are where. The map image is startling, provocative and BEAUTIFUL. Each country is shown proportional to its population. The map presents people, not territory. Each square of the grid on the map represents a million people. From the perspective of population, China is the biggest country in the world! India is not far behind. For a real shock, compare Indonesia with the United States. This map shows how the USA is only a small part of the whole, 4.5% or less than one-twentieth of the Earth's humans. The main map is enhanced by a series of startling and informative images at the bottom: Population, by continent, throughout human history. This series of "snapshot" images shows the people, and where they were at (1) 100,000 years ago, (2) at the time of the birth of Christ, (3) at 1650 AD, (4) at 1900 AD, and includes (5) population projections for the year 2150. There is also a map of population density showing where there are more than 30 people per square mile. In contrast to the usual continents of land, this density image shows the continents and islands of humankind! 

How the Population Map was created:

This unique view of the world's people was created by an editorial team which included cartographers, population experts, graphic designers, GIS specialists, as well as human rights, human resources, and political activists. This is map that shows Tibet as a distinct and disputed territory, despite the lack of UN recognition. Tibet was a separate independent and sovereign nation prior to its invasion and subsequent occupation by the People's Republic of China. This map also recognizes the existence of the three million people now living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It allows the reader to compare the land (using the Hobo-Dyer equal area projection), with the people (and where they live), along with tracking trends over the course of human history (from 100,000 BC to projections for the year 2150).

Behind The Scenes…The People Behind The Map

Clicking on the links below will provide an eye-opening view of how each of the contributors struggled with the issues and dilemmas that came up, as each person conducted the research and constructed the resulting images. As a publisher of innovative world images, ODT has a commitment to make the developmental process transparent…to let customers “see” through the map to the ethical and values decisions BEHIND the map. Map creation is not a sterile, hands-off, “objective” process. The process by which the decisions are made can be as fascinating as the final image that is published. Each contributor shares his/her thoughts and process as they worked towards the goal of the completed map.

Paul Breding

Biography and Methodology
Paul Breding has a BA in Geography from the University of Colorado, and an MS in Geography from the University of South Carolina. His graduate work was primarily focused on the role of cartograms in K-12 Geography curriculums. Since then, he has worked as a Cartographer for educational publisher Nystrom, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and currently works for the Chicago Tribune.

Denis Wood
Social Scientist & Author

Denis Wood provided editorial guidance on all phases of this project. His insights, analysis and suggestions were critical to the integration of information (both data and images) from the three other cartographers. Perhaps the best way to understand his contributions is to read the letter he wrote to editor Bob Abramms in August 2004. You will note on the finished map that not all of Denis' advice was accepted.

Fred Pearce
Historical & Projected Population Research

Fred Pearce is a freelance writer on environment, development and demographic issues from London, England. He is environment consultant of New Scientist magazine and reckons he has reported from 54 countries over the past 15 years. His recent US outlets include the Boston Globe and Foreign Policy. His latest book, "Keepers of the Spring: Reclaiming our Water in the Age of Globalization" was published by Island Press in November 2004.

Bill Yoder
GIS Cartographer
Thumbnail Images #2-7

Bill Yoder received a Bachelor of Science in environmental resources and a Master of Science in applied biological sciences. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at Arizona State University in Environmental Design and Planning program, working on development of site potential models using advanced technologies (GIS, remote sensing, and spatial statistics).

Bob Abramms
Project Director

Bob Abramms is the founder of ODT, Inc in Amherst, Massachusetts

Radio Interview on Environmental Network News - 12min.
Web clip of Bob’s video

Mona Naimark
Graphic Design Consultant   
Mona Naimark is a visual artist who paints silks and watercolors. She lives in the USA and in Guatemala. When she is in the USA, she has been an important contributor to ODT projects, in terms of design, production, and marketing. She used her talents in graphic design to provide editorial guidance to this project.