Eyes from Above: Remote Sensing and Virtual Globes in Spatial Demography

Lisa M Jordan, Florida State University

In the past few decades, research in spatial demography has revealed important patterns and disparities in fertility, mortality, and migration across space. The ability to visualize the place-based differences evident in choropleth maps has helped to attract demographers to study both the dynamic processes and persistent clustering of events and characteristics evident in populations. This paper explores the intersection of remote sensing and spatial demography by discussing the characteristics of gridded population data in contrast to residential populations often summarized in terms of political or administrative areal units and borders. The strengths and weaknesses of each type of measurement are considered, as are the ways in which differing data types may be combined. The implications of map making are also considered, from images of the earth, to digitally produced population maps, to virtual globes. Both concerns and opportunities related to global GIS systems and virtual globes in demography are discussed.

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Presented in Session 76: Methods in Spatial Demography