Why? To display “an image of human settlement patterns unmediated by proxies like city boundaries, arterial roads, state lines,” etc.
This spoke to me, not only because of its inherent beauty, but also of its potential use in social work and public health. If it could somehow be paired with GIS maps of extreme weather (like heat waves, super typhoons, etc.) and disease outbreak, the resulting map would make a great visual tool to aid with planning and logistics.
It would be interesting to see a similar map for Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa, regions most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change and the burden of disease associated with it.