Check out this awesome global population density heatmap



Population density maps tend to be boring and ugly. Róbert Szűcs, a GIS Analysis from Hungary had the same feeling and decided to change it. He took the population density raster available at NASA, did a bit of experimenting with QGIS, then he made a color relief version using GDAL and imported this into TileMill, where he finished the map.

The map can be a real eye-opener for a westerner, seeing the relative ‘darkness’ of the Americas and even Europe, compared to India, Eastern China, the island of Java in Indonesia, or the last few hundred kilometres of the Nile. Also check how Sub-Saharan Africa is rising, with Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania leading the way.

If you like the map you can buy it on Etsy.





I'm a professional always thinking outside the box and a self-confessed gadget addict. As a son of a professor of cartography I was surrounded by maps all my life and as a result spatial way of thinking and seeing reality is naturally embedded in who I am.


  1. Since this map is representing area density it would be really nice (and more appropriate) to see this done using an equal area projection rather than the current one which misrepresents land areas.

      • TileMill sadly only exports in Mercator! But I’ll convert it when I’ll have some time. Which projection would you prefer (EPSG?)?

        • Nice map Robert!

          As pointed out in some of the material in the recent Geoawesomeness post (, choice of projection is very much an individual choice.

          I have grown accustomed to a Gall-Peters projection, but many people find the southern continents appear too stretched. A Lambert Conical Equal-area (EPSG:9834) would give lower levels of distortion in the most populated areas.

          If you are happy not having a rectangular bounded map, then something like the Goode Homolosine might work well too.


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