Summer in the city can be pretty unbearable. As you're piling into the bus, subway or elevator with a crowd of sweaty people, you may start thinking -- or daydreaming -- of getting away from it all.
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1) The loneliest places on Earth
The size of each grid reflects the time it takes to travel to the nearest city of at least 50,000 people over land – the larger the grid, the longer it takes. The colors show land elevation in meters, with red being 8,000 meters. Greenland becomes gigantic, as does the Himalayas, while much of Europe, Asia and Central America disappear.
More than half of the world’s population lives in cities today. More than 95 percent of people around the world are concentrated into 10 percent of the world’s land area.
2-3) What it looks like to really be in the middle of nowhere
This map by Seth Kadish of Vizual Statistix takes a literal approach to pinpointing "the middle of nowhere." The blue areas on the map above indicate places that are close to major roads and airports, while red are the areas that are farthest away. Kadish finds that central Idaho, northwest Arizona, the intersection of Oregon, Idaho and Nevada, and northwestern Maine are the places that best qualify as "the middle of nowhere."
Here is the same image for Alaska:
4) Every single road in the U.S., in mind-boggling detail
Here's another view of that same idea by reddit user WestCoastBestCoast94. This gorgeous map shows all of the roads in the U.S. and nothing else. The Northeast corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C. becomes one big mass of roads, while in very flat and/or less populated parts of the country, like the Midwest, the roads form clear grids. In the West you can see winding roads over the mountains and white spaces in the locations of Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, the Badlands, and other government-protected areas.
5) Where nobody lives
Nik Freeman created this map, with the U.S. Census blocks where the reported population is zero are marked in green. According to those figures, no one is living on 47 percent of the land in the U.S.
6-7) A minimalist map of America's urban areas
Michael Pecirno created a series of beautiful minimalist maps of the U.S. based on classifications by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This map shows the parts of the country that the agriculture department marks as urban areas.
8) The states that have more cars than people
Jishai Evers of Dadaviz created the map above to show the ratio of people to automobiles in each of the 50 states, based on 2007 figures from the U.S. Department of Energy. In that year, six states had as many or more cars than people – Nebraska, Alabama, Iowa, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming, which tops the list with 1,140 vehicles for every 1,000 people in the state.
9) The noisiest and quietest places in America
America basically has a noisy half and a quiet half, new data from the National Park Service shows. Researchers carried out 1.5 million hours of acoustical monitoring to create the map below, of noise levels across the U.S. on an average summer day.
Except for the coast, the Western half of the U.S. appears relatively quiet. The quietest places in the U.S. are Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, which registered less than 20 decibels of background noise – comparable to what the U.S. would have sounded like before European colonization. The Eastern U.S. is another story. In most American cities, noise levels average 50 to 60 decibels, several orders of magnitude larger than the parks.
10-11) Where all the world’s people live
If you want to be alone, maybe avoid Asia. This map, created by André Christoffer Andersen using the ISLSCP II Global Population of the World dataset, shows the world's population density by latitude and longitude. The vertical line at the right-hand side shows world population by latitude, while the line across the bottom shows population by longitude. You can visit the interactive version here.
And this map, created by Reddit user TeaDranks, shows what the world map would look like if each country's size were proportional to its population. If you want to be alone, Russia, Canada and Australia look like safe bets.
11) The Pacific Ocean is a pretty great place to be alone
The Pacific Ocean is big -- like, bigger than you think. Chris Stephens of the blog everystring.wordpress.com created the map above to illustrate this fact. The map shows that all of the world’s continents can fit comfortably in the Pacific Ocean.
12) Islands of nowhere
Daydreaming of island living? This map by Seth Kadish shows the global distribution of small islands. The red spots -- Scandinavia, SE Asia/Oceania, the Caribbean, Hudson Bay, or Dubai -- have the highest density of small islands.
13) Meet absolute farthest point from land: Point Nemo
It's hard to get more remote than Point Nemo, the point in the ocean that is the farthest from land -- about 1670 miles, to be exact. The point is named after the famous submarine sailor from Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, not the Pixar fish.
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