Remember those insect posters from the biology lessons at school? Butterflies, bugs and spiders assembled in a mosaic-style depiction that shows the diversity of these species in nature. The resemblance with insects was also one widespread reaction to the gridded population cartograms when the online world population atlas was released:
At first glance they could be mistaken for distorted creepy-crawlies – bloated body parts with randomly placed antennae and spindly legs, their gridlines looking much like the compound eyes and variegated wings of an insect.
(Source: BBC News Magazine)
The diversity of the population distribution in the countries of the world is reflected in these population maps. The atlas creates a unique perspective of the human shape of the planet. Taking their analogy to these good old insect posters into account, I have created two mosaics in a similar style that assemble all maps from the world population atlas. They portrait the diversity of our world and give a new perspective on the shape of humanity. This is how the insect poster of the humanity looks like:
…and another view – an idea for a new stamp series?
All maps can be seen in larger versions on the world population atlas website: http://www.worldpopulationatlas.org/
More methodological details on the mapping technique are outlined in a contribution to last year’s summer school of the British Society of Cartographers which I published earlier on this website: Gridded cartograms and the World Population Atlas