Zoomable Map Shows Every Person in U.S. and Canada

Brandon Martin-Anderson/Public Domain

Brandon Martin-Anderson decided he wanted to see what the U.S. and Canada look like if every person were put on the map. Literally. No state or city borders, no lines for roads or highways, no coloration based on political or religious views. Just one dot per person, in the spot where they were counted for the population census. What would human settlement patterns look like?

Turns out, it looks like this. A total of 341,817,095 dots, each representing an individual person counted in the 2010 (U.S.) and 2011 (Canada) censuses, and each placed in the location where they were reported living by the census counters.

The project is fascinating -- especially to see how dense settlements are connected through lines of people that live in towns following major roads and highways. It is also interesting to see how we are everywhere in the U.S. There is very little space in the lower 48 that doesn't have a person living in it. One of the first things that struck me is that while this map is an excellent reminder of many things, it is an especially good reminder of how precious wild, untouched space really is since there just isn't that much of it left. What strikes you most about this map and what it tells us through the way the population is laid out?

You can click over to Census Dotmap to zoom in and see you, as a dot... maybe. If you live in a densely populated area you probably won't be able to pick out your specific dot, but you can certainly try!

Tags: Technology