Where Are the People? / by Michael Johns

Aside from a major city and a handful of townships, Tasmania is mostly an island of rugged landscapes and remote wilderness. There are roughly 522,000 people currently living on this island state of Australia, nearly half of whom reside in the greater Hobart region; Tasmania’s only city center. The heat maps above depict the spatial distribution and densities of people across the island. Each circle represents a 0.05 x 0.05 degree pixel within a larger spatial grid, colored by the total number and density of people within each pixel. Rather than using a raster or contours to display the population data, I went with a simple grid of points using the package ggplot2 in R, which I think gives it a retro “Lite-brite” look. If you never had one as a kid then you missed out. Hobart glows red hot, followed by the town Launceston (called “Launy” by the Aussies) and the northern coastline. We will be flying into Hobart and exploring the city for a few days, before heading out in a camper van rental to check out some of the darker corners of these maps.

Population data used to create the maps above can be found at the following link: http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/data/set/gpw-v4-admin-unit-center-points-population-estimates-rev10/data-download

Rather messy but mostly functional R code used to make maps can be downloaded HERE.