The Emerald Island

This image of the day in NASA’s Earth Observatory is an extremely rare display of a cloud-free Irish island. NASA says:

It is easy to see from this true-color image why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle. Intense green vegetation, primarily grassland, covers most of the country except for the exposed rock on mountaintops. Ireland owes its greenness to moderate temperatures and moist air. The Atlantic Ocean, particularly the warm currents in the North Atlantic Drift, gives the country a more temperate climate than most others at the same latitude.

That image coincided with St Patrick’s day last year, for which I created an Irish-Island version of the population cartogram series (see the Ireland Population Cartogram here). With such a beautiful satellite view of the island, I took the chance to re-draw that cartogram using the satellite imagery as a basemap instead of the unicoloured original. The new population cartogram shows the MODIS satellite image distorted to match the island’s population, with each person living there given the same amount of space on the new map. The resulting map image shows a slightly less emerald-green image, because the more greyish-brown urban areas grow in size, while the green landscape is far less populated and thus reduced in size. The map includes two insets, one showing the original satellite image as a reference, and the top-right map showing the same cartogram with some major urban areas labeled:

Population Map / Cartogram of Ireland
(click for larger map)
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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