Maps for Global Hunger / Poverty in Google Earth

Global Hunger in Google EarthDeclan Butler, a senior editor for Nature Magazine, has discovered that Columbia University has published important GIS data related to poverty. Declan took some of the data and has quickly created some maps for Google Earth. Here is a global hunger map (large file – 4.6 MBytes) and a global infant mortality rate map (large file – 5.4 Mbytes). Declan says more can be done to improve (and reduce the size of) the maps for Google Earth, but this was a quick illustration of the power of the data.
Declan also hosts visualizations for showing the spread of avian flu. See stories here and here.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. Why doesnt google make an easy way to attach data to a country outline. I would love to have a layer which allows you to click on each country and it pops up a window showing overall country stats such as population GDP etc as is common in most large atlases.This could be done for cities and towns as well.

  2. Timothy, Google makes it easy to add other data in Google Earth. Try out the World CIA Factbook in GE, or this huge collection of GIS information (including world-wide populations).
    CIA World Factbook:
    GIS Information:

  3. Thank you for the links, they are very interesting.
    However the data is displayed using downloaded pictures. It would be nice if one could write a kml which say specified the colours to display different countries in or specified new data to display when someone clicks on a city, town or country.
    By the way the global hunger map in your blog entry just shows a white globe on my system. I am guessing it is something to do with the capabilities of my graphics card.

  4. More than 110 million school-aged children in the world’s poorest countries suffer from hunger. The vast majority of them do not attend school. This is an unnecessary and preventable tragedy.
    The George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program provides meals in schools to some of these children. But there are many more that go to bed hungry.
    Bipartisan legislation was recently introduced in Congress to expand the McGovern-Dole Program so that more children can attend school and be guaranteed at least one nutritious meal per day.
    Help expand the George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. Sign the petition.

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