Population Maps for Google Earth

Population Maps in Google EarthThe Encyclopedia of Earth has an article with information about scientific research on anthropogenic biomes which are defined as:

Anthropogenic biomes describe globally-significant ecological patterns within the terrestrial biosphere caused by sustained direct human interaction with ecosystems, including agriculture, urbanization, forestry and other land uses. …humans have fundamentally altered global patterns of ecosystem form, process, and biodiversity, anthropogenic biomes provide a contemporary view of the terrestrial biosphere in its human-altered form.

More importantly, the article shares a anthropogenic biomes world map showing the interaction of human population with the natural systems around them. The map is best viewed in Google Earh here . It uses super overlays so you can see more detail as you zoom in closer (down to about 600 miles). The map is colored by biome types explained in the legend. The map is also available in Google Maps and Virtual Earth. This is a really interesting map! Thanks to GEB reader Salinga, who forwarded this map and a link to an article about it at Spiegel online (German).
Another interesting population density map overlay was created and posted at the GEC by Gerardo64 two years ago.
Both of these maps are excellent ways to get a better understanding of how humans are spread around the planet. I’ve seen the numbers for India and China, but these maps really illustrate just how far population growth there has gone.

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. BeerGraphicsGuy says:

    The Anthropogenic Biomes overlay got stuck (imbedded?) in my install of Google Earth and won’t let go. It obscures everything else at all magnifications. How do I get rid of it once and for all?

  2. Are there any regional population density maps? Per country or per even smaller areas within countries?
    These are the most rare maps in the World.

  3. Todd Miller says:

    This is very interesting because I am looking at spatial patterns in coastal pollutants. I was wondering, can I use these maps in my research? For my own publication in scientific journals?

  4. Félix del Pino says:

    I try to download-open the population density map dan by Gerardo64 but when I do it, either directly on the internet or on my PC a big red “X” appears instead of the population layers ?
    Someone could tell me what happens ? Is it
    a problem of the layer or of my PC ?

  5. Félix del Pino says:

    If I try to download or open the Population Density Map layer done by Gerardo64 in my PC appears a big red “X” covering the whole globe instead of the coloured original layers.
    Someone could help me ? Is it a matter of the application ? Or maybe concerning my PC ?

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