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Posted by on Aug 18, 2014 in Featured Maps, Slideshow, Visualisation | 11 comments

Population Lines Print


20% off (normal UK price £30) until Christmas! 

I recently produced a map entitled “Population Lines”, which shows population density by latitude. The aim was to achieve a simple and fresh perspective on these well-known data. I have labelled a few key cities for orientation purposes but I’ve left off most of the conventional cartographical adornments. I am really pleased with the end result not least because it resembles Joy Division’s iconic Unknown Pleasures album cover, which in itself is a great example of data visualisation as art.


The data, from NASA SEDAC, have been mapped many times before and in many beautiful ways but none seem to me quite as compelling as the simple approach here of using only black and grey lines across the page. What amazes me about this map (from where I sit in London) is just how jagged the lines become throughout India, East China, Indonesia and Japan in comparison to “the West” – evidence that we are definitely in the “Asian Century”.


Following quite a lot of interest in the map, I’ve had some A2 prints produced for those who’d like to own a copy. Each print is produced with vegetable-based inks on 170 gsm 100% recycled Cyclus Offset paper. This is slightly off-white and does a great job of producing crisp lines and giving the print a quality feel. I have signed and numbered each print for this first print run. If you would like to own a copy please click below.


Frame not included

Small print: Print is unframed. Orders from outside of the EU may be subject to local taxes.

europe_smlindia_smlFor those interested Ryan Brideau has produced a version of the code for how to do this here.

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  1. It’s gorgeous, James. How many prints do you intend to do? Can you mail to Mexico City?

  2. Stunning!

  3. pretty innovative, always like to see a new slant on data visualisations that actually work!

  4. Perhaps I misunderstand what the lines are supposed to represent, but why is there no major peak for Saint Petersburg (Russia)? Not quite as populous as Moscow it is more than twice the size of Paris, for example…

    • Hi there, it is population density so its how tightly packed people are rather than their total number.

  5. Lo mejor es la proyección de la tierra.

  6. Is there an HD version of this I could use as a desktop background? Preferably 1920×1200?

  7. A 3D print of this would be pretty cool (expecially, if the sticking up bits still had the coloured lines on them)

  8. I’d love a larger print of this if you could make one available. It’s a shame not to show off the detail.


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