The Ever Growing Population

The world’s population has grown trifold in the last 100 years.  From 1.5 billion in 1900 to 6.1 billion in 2000, it seems as though we won’t ever stop growing.  It’s no secret that our population has been growing these past decades, but it has reached a point of danger.  With the world’s population growing at such an alarming rate, natural lands and habitats are being knocked down to make the extra space.  While the destruction of natural lands is horrible, people are suffering from starvation, overcrowding, unemployment, and much more. We need to fix our overpopulation problem if we wish to survive on a finite planet.

Overpopulation is a large problem looked at by many scientists around the world.  Of these scientists, geographers are among the most abundant group. Geographers have many jobs beyond map making, especially human geographers.  Human geographers study the spatial organization of human activities on earth, ranging anywhere from economies to demographics. Geographer’s are well rounded scholars, especially concerning population.  Geographers use data they find to creates maps, such as the one shown below:

This cartogram shows the entire population of the world in 2015, labelling each country and stating their individual populations.  Maps like this one are crucial to solving our overpopulation problem, as they show where overpopulation may occur.

While conventional maps have their obvious benefits, more detailed cartograms have added perks in more problematic cases.  These could range anywhere from disaster relief to overpopulation. In our case of overpopulation, cartograms with population data are extremely helpful like the one above.  This map directly shows how overpopulated the earth truly is. As you can see, nations of similar size have drastically differently sized populations. For example, the US has almost 3/2 the population of Brazil, yet it is only ⅛ greater in size.  This is a direct example of how overpopulated nations have become. This causes a chain reaction of overpopulated cities that turn into crowded poor slums. These overcrowded slums then suffer greatly from disease and sickness in addition to hunger and starvation.  As a result, these innocent people are suffering from a problem that we can’t seem to solve.

Maps aren’t just created with one point in mind.  Maps are created for various purposes under numerous disciplines, and work in many ways.  The age of simple navigational maps is over. Nowadays maps come in all forms, from digital to nautical to cartograms.  In particular one new style of map making has separated itself from the rest. GIS, or geographic information system, is a new modern form of map making.  GIS involves using a computer to create a database of information gathered through tests, and then applying that information towards an online interactive and purposeful map.  GIS maps are created for an audience with a purpose. As one article states, “GIS technology also allows to “dig deep” in a specific area with many kinds of information. Maps of a single city or neighborhood can relate such information as average income, book sales, or voting patterns. Any GIS data layer can be added or subtracted to the same map”.  What makes GIS mapping so revolutionary is that it allows you to add or take away mental information from a physical map. This is extremely helpful when researching a particular situation among different locations and finding their similarities.

With new advances in modern technology many people rely on the internet as their source of maps.  The most commonly used digital mapping system is now Google maps. These new digital maps allow you to easily find precise locations the fastest ways possible.  The only problem with this mapping system is that, as all modern technology is, it is susceptible to human error and hacking. This has lead to many problems, and even in some cases, international disputes.  As stated, “In 2010, Nicaragua blamed an accidental invasion of Costa Rica on incorrect Google Maps information” (Turner 2).  These simple map mistakes have lead to big problems for many people. In addition to the Nicaragua-Costa Rica dispute, Google Maps has repeatedly had the wrong address for Mount Rushmore, sending tourists some 13 miles away from the actual location.  These problems are ones that must be fixed if we continue to rely on these digital mapping systems, such as Google Maps. As society becomes more and more modern, so do our everyday tools. Maps are just one example of this social modernization, and the apparent problems with them aren’t a good sign.  Society needs to make sure that everyday tools are reliable and ready for continuous use.

Maps are one of the most used tools in history.  As humans evolve, so do their tools, leading to the creation of new age maps.  These range anywhere from simple digital maps to revolutionary GIS maps that allow the creator to engage multiple variables into one map.  On the other hand, there are also cartograms that show generally problematic events in the world. Overpopulation is just one of the many world problems cartograms show, as they label exactly where the population may be in excess around the world.  The various types of mapping systems all work for a specific instance. Maps are used in many ways, but modern technology has allowed us to create purposeful maps to help the world.


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