Demic (The) Atlas Project: A Non-State-Based Approach to Mapping Global Economic and Social Development (The Spatial History Project, Stanford University)

Authors: Anne Fredell, Jake Coolidge, Martin Lewis

The Demic Atlas project provides an alternative to the standard state-based system of mapping socio-economic data at the global scale. Whereas the independent countries that form the basic units of conventional maps vary in population by more than five orders of magnitude, the elemental units of the alternative scheme are defined at the same demographic scale, each containing roughly 100 million inhabitants. Such "demic regions," constructed from aggregations of smaller countries and divisions of larger ones, and are designed to group together areas of similar socio-economic standing. By employing such demographically comparable units, the Demic Atlas seeks to uncover patterns of spatial variation in global development that remains invisible on conventional maps.

The visualization presented allows the ready comparison of social and economic mapping within the state-based and demic frameworks. Three standard measurements of development are mapped: 1. nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which measures the total value (in US $) of goods and services produced in a given year in a specific territory; 2. GDP in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), which takes into account the fact that the same amount of money can purchase different quantities of goods and services in different parts of the world; and 3. the Human Development Index (HDI), a composite statistic that considers life expectancy, educational attainment, and economic production. Figures for nominal GDP and GDP in PPP are mapped in both aggregate and per capita terms