Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mapping 2000 Years of Population Change

Two Thousand Years of Urban Growth is a 3D globe visualizing population change around the world over the last 2,000 years. The map was made by Esri using their new ArcGIS API for JavaScript with D3.js.

City populations around the world are shown on the globe with 3d bar charts placed over each city. The timeline slide control allows you to adjust the date in order to view the city populations for different dates throughout history. If you select a city's bar on the globe you can also view a line chart showing the city's population over the last 2,000 years.

The globe is an impressive demonstration of Esri's ArcGIS API for JavaScript. However this is one case where I think the data doesn't need to be mapped. Using a 3D globe is probably not the best way to visualize historical population growth. I think the information could be more easily conveyed with just a simple dynamic bar chart and timeline control.

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