Data Scientist Makes Stunning Maps of the Average Colors of the World

Erin Davis Average Colors of the World Satellite Maps From Data

When you look at a satellite map, the colors displayed range from white to deep brown. Earth's features—from icecaps to deserts—offer a seemingly infinite range of color when photographed from on high. Data scientist Erin Davis creates awesome data visualizations to help bring the “big picture” into focus. Davis posted a project entitled Average Colors of the World, a series of maps which aggregate satellite data to find and display the average color of defined regions.

Davis describes herself as an artsy kid who studied math and engineering in college. The result has been her creative data visualizations which are frequently based on maps. For example, she analyzed the fascinating (literal) question, “When it rains, does it pour?” For Average Colors of the World, Davis was primarily interested in the visual impact of analyzing the colors of satellite footage.

She used satellite imagery from Sentinel-2, a satellite which observes Earth. Using coding and computer programs, Davis collected data to create special geotiff images. First, each focus area was decided on—whether it be a country, a state, or the world map.  Then, the images were converted to a png file, which allowed Davis to take the average of the colors within. The result is a fascinating new type of maps depicting the world.

Data scientist Erin Davis makes creative visualizations to demonstrate the meaning and artistic possibilities of data.

Erin Davis Average Colors of the World Satellite Maps From Data

Her Average Colors of the World series takes satellite imagery and aggregates the color data within regions.

Erin Davis Average Colors of the World Satellite Maps From Data

What is the average color where you live, if viewed from space?

Average Colors of Africa Map

Average Colors of Asia

Europe Map of Average Colors from Data

South America Average Color Map

Erin Davis: Website | Instagram | Twitter

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Erin Davis.

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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