Matt Daniels Maps World Populations as Mountains

Engineer Matt Daniels has created a new interactive map to visualize the world's populations. Called 'Human Terrain', the project includes extruded block-by-block population data for cities across the world to give viewers fine-grain insight into population distribution. Daniels used data from the Global Human Settlement Layer and processed it using Google Earth Engine to create a mountainous digital landscape.

Human Terrain. Image Courtesy of Matt Daniels

Each city's form stands out to better understand population density. Daniel's created a 3D view to see the "world’s center of human mass." Different cities take on different shapes: Paris and London are the largest peaks in their respective areas, with a slow descent surrounding them, denoting suburbanization. This project utilizes the data from the Global Human Settlement Layer and takes advantage of “satellite imagery, census data, and volunteered geographic information” to create the population density maps. A detailed explanation of the data gathering and manipulation is available here.

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Cite: Eric Baldwin. "Matt Daniels Maps World Populations as Mountains" 04 Jan 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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