Earlier I have posted the classic image of "Earth Lights at Night," and discussed the classroom uses of the image. This cartogram helps take that analysis one step further. This cartogram helps students to visualize the magnitude of population (with the cartogram adjusting area for population) and then to see the patterns of energy use, global consumption and urbanization with in a new light.
NASA's Visible Earth catalog of NASA images and animations of our home planet...
This classic image is full of classroom applications. The first impulse of most students is to note that this image will show us where people live, where the cities are or some other comment that speaks to the magnitude of the population in the white areas. Let them analyze this for more time, and they'll notice that population isn't the whole story of this image. A place like India shines, but less brightly than the eastern part of the United States. I like to point out that South Korea appears to be an island (because North Korea is literally blacked out). Politics, development, affluence and population information are all embedded in this image. As with all maps, the more information you have about the place in question (in this case, Earth), the more meaningful information you can extract out of the map.
It was just over two centuries ago that the global population was 1 billion — in 1804. But better medicine and improved agriculture resulted in higher life expectancy for children, dramatically increasing the world population, especially in the West.
This is an excellent video for population and demographic units, but also for showing regional and spatial patterns within the global dataset (since terms like 'overpopulation' and 'carrying capacity' inherently have different meanings in distinct places and when analyzed at various scales). It is also a fantastic way to visualize population data and explain the ideas that are foundational for the Demographic Transition Model.
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