Mapping Global Human Activity

Air traffic routes between North America and Europe

It is absolutely astonishing that our world has reached a population exceeding 7 billion, as of this past Sunday. With so many people occupying our world over many centuries, and with the number steadily growing, we're all bound to have had a significant impact on the planet. Luckily, Canadian scientist Felix Pharand-Deschenes has created visuals of our planet equipped with statistical graphics to represent various human influences on this home we call Earth.

Pharand-Deschenes' Anthropocene Mapping project marks the paths of human activity including roadways, railways, airway traffic, internet cables, electricity transmission lines, and underwater data cables. He acquired all his factual information from various US government agencies. The word “Anthropocene” is especially fitting for this piece of research because of the meaning behind the ancient Greek word is derived from – anthropos means “human being” and kainos means “new, current.” It is through the combination of these two words that scientist-cartographer is best able to categorize his maps under “the new human-dominated period of the Earth's history.”

The visually stunning maps are now a piece of history. Though they are not to scale, since electrical wires can't be seen from space, there is an understanding of the immense rise in global human activity. As the founder and director of Globaia, an organization whose objective is to educate and inform the people of the world about the human race's influence on our planet, Pharand-Deschenes' maps are continuing to serve their purpose.

Air traffic routes over Eurasia

Air traffic routes around North and South America

Human technology presence over North America

Human technology presence over Asia

Human technology presence over Australia

Human technology presence over Africa

Road and rail networks, city illumination, communication lines and underwater data cables in Europe

Road and rail networks in South America

Major road and rail networks in Africa, communication lines and underwater data cables

Major road and rail networks in Australia, transmission lines and underwater data cables

Globaia's website
via [Visual News]


Pinar Noorata is the Managing Editor at My Modern Met. She is a writer, editor, and content creator based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA in Film and Media Studies from CUNY Hunter College and is an alumni of the Center for Arts Education’s Career Development Program in NYC. She has worked at NBC Universal, Penguin Books, and the Tribeca Film Festival as well as many other independent media companies. When she isn’t writing, editing, or creating videos herself, Pinar enjoys watching movies—anything from foreign art house films to mainstream blockbusters.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content