Global population density spike map by Alasdair Rae
I wanted to create a visual that highlighted two things as simply as possible: 1) the distribution of the world's population and 2) the locations with the highest population densities. That's how my global population density spike map came to be. It was an experimental pandemic project that took on a life of its own.
The shadows are partly for effect but they also do two things: 1) they allow us to more easily see isolated spikes - e.g. Hawaii or New Zealand or Iceland and 2) they provide a kind of profile chart view of certain places - e.g. the long New York City spike or the massive shadow cast by India.
This visual is deigned to be simple yet highly detailed so that you can zoom to full resolution and pick out all sorts of interesting details - the forest and the trees so to speak.
A very simple 'innovation' here was removing the land - I did lots of other versions that included the land but by removing it i think it makes the overall patterns easier to see and gives it a kind of 'human planet' vibe, which is what I was attempting to do from the beginning.
It is of course part science, part art.