POPULATION DISTRIBUTION: Where do we live?


The topic of population density is not new to the field of geography. Different representations in mapping have been used in order to provide varying interpretations. Population density is a spatial type of data that is better presented in the form of maps. It is used in order to identify patterns of distribution throughout space and time.

The map above is a population distribution map which was found by a geographer in New York under the pen name “Map Monkey” (http://www.blogger.com/profile/03799927167426727749), which uses quasi 3-D topographical technique in order to represent the variable for population density in the major cities of USA. It creatively presents the highs and lows of city population densities in the form of a relief surface. It reveals the different places in which people would tend to congest throughout space.

 Commentaries:

The relevance of the map can not be overemphasized due to the stand point that population density has been used for decades in presenting population count against land resources. There have been many population density maps, though different designs have been applied. I see the only problem in which the data used is not supported by any reference of sources. The cartographer did not in fact indicate which year he or she used to confer in producing the map. Population data varies annually and these would critically influence the context of the map being portrayed.

If it were to represent all valid perspectives where people would live in the USA, then it should have presented visual images for Alaska and Hawaii. Though the cartographer was able to provide a simple illustration about the state of population density in Alaska, it does not go forth with representing all available variables of geography. Alaska could have been featured as the northernmost state of the country, and Hawaii can be viewed as an archipelagic and tropical state. These factors may also determine people’s preference to stay in or not leave these places . Though, it could have been more of an aesthetical decision for the cartographer to not include the aforementioned states so as not o tcongest the map further.

The success of a map is also dependent on the ability for the map reader to interpret the cartographer’s message. If the reader is able to comprehend it then it has possibly been organized well with sufficient information. The map itself may stand independently without the use of any background information on the topic. It has organized necessary information which can equip the reader with the skills for map reading. It has also provided a simple and space efficient visual to let the reader grasp the concept of population density easily. Nonetheless the cartographer was able to suitably assemble it in an orderly fashion in which the reader wouldn’t be able to be confused.

The map’s basic elements have been arranged in a form wherein it has followed the concept of visual hierarchy.  The map reader may be able to discriminate easily which elements goes with what. The map also does not distract the eyes of the reader to spread across at a certain point throughout the map. It is appealing to the eyes because of its organization and use of different sizes in bordering, font and illustrations.

The description and labels are neatly organized throughout the map. It is also supplementary that the cartographer has added several city descriptions like that of Chicago. Additional explanations like what occurs in the “flat areas” or why congestion of settlements occur in coastal or near water resources have added to the dynamism of the map. Organization has been effective executed with the use of simple lines and points in labeling descriptions. Over-exaggeration is not used in depicting focal attention in order to provide equity in importance and harmony in design. Though minimalist, the cartographer was able to provide an efficient and systematic method in rendering his message.

The presentation of Population Densities has been most effective through maps. It has always been used by map makers in practicing design skills in cartography. The challenge is not only to make a representative map but to clearly broadcast the reality to the reader. The map above has clearly and effectively bestowed the knowledge to others by simply modifying the elements in order to become something purposive for the general public. Thus a lesson is to be taken into account that it is significant and rudimentary that we know for who our maps will be for.

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