Friday, April 7, 2006

Population Density

Below are two satellite images. One is centered on our old house in Maryland. The other is centered on our new (much older) house in New Hampshire. We used to live in a "town" (in quotes because in reality, it's nothing...not a city, not a town, not a village...really just a "rough idea of a place") that's ten square miles with a population well over 50,000 people. We now live in a town that's 40 square miles with a population between 6,000 and 7,000 people. I'll let you do the math. (What you'll come up with is that there's a lot less crowding here than there.) I figure what's pictured below is less than 4/100 of a square mile of ground in each case. And in case it isn't obvious, what you're looking at in the top photograph are two cul-de-sacs, surrounded by townhomes (or "row houses", depending on where you're from).


If I've done my figuring correctly, I've scaled these two images to show a land mass that's just about equal. (I figure ten seconds of latitude is the same distance no matter where on Earth it is. If you know otherwise, please let me know.)

Thanks to the USGS for making this sort of imagery so easily accessible. To get your own, go here:


  1. Are you really running for US president election in 2008? thats great man. i hope you can stop the war in Iraq if you win. and please dont forget me :-)

    all the best to you

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, lyme_85. Yes, I really am running, but I don't expect to win.

    A little scary how the presidency of this country can be so meaningful to yourself, on the other side of the planet, no?

    I'm with you in hoping that someone, myself or otherwise, will stop the madness. My intial response to the situation in Iraq (actually, I think it stems from our invasion of Afghanistan) was that I'm very disturbed that our nation's military has become an active invading force. I don't like that at all.

    I don't think "aggression" is really the first word that most of us Americans want to be associated with in the eyes of the world. (And frankly, I think "aggression" would be putting it very mildly at this point.)

    Again, thanks for the encouragement. I hope you'll keep tuning in, and I hope you'll spread the word. No matter how distant you are from our electoral process, six degrees of separation says that you can have a meaningful influence here just by spreading the word amongst the people you know.