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World Population

This starting point example compiled by R.M. MacKay. utilizes the MyWorld Geographic Information System (GIS) software created at Norhtwestern University.

This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


Access and visualize world population data using the user friendly MyWorld GIS software. Data includes total population, population density, projected population, male and female population, and age specific population, etc.

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Learning Goals

  • Compare and contrast the population and population charateristics of different countries world wide.
  • Learn about Geographic Information Systems and what they are good for.
  • Learn how to use a specific GIS, MyWorld GIS.

Context for Use

Use in an introductory Geoscience course in which use of a GIS and discussion of World Population growth and characteristics are appropriate. Although the specific activity described is for world population it can be used as a introductory activity for use of MyWorld for other data sets.

Teaching Materials

Teaching Notes and Tips

Time for this activity is about 2 to 3 hours including time required to download MyWorld GIS software. It is NOT recommended that students download MyWorld at home from a phone modem.


Evaluation of the completed activity can be used to assess student understanding of GIS, the MyWorld environment, and of issues related to world population.

References and Resources


Environmental Science:Human Population, Geography:Geospatial, Human/Cultural

Resource Type

Audio/Visual:Animations/Video, Maps, Activities:Classroom Activity, Lab Activity

Special Interest

Visualization, GIS

Grade Level

College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level

Ready for Use

Ready to Use

Earth System Topics

Geography, Human Dimensions:Population


Human Dimensions/Resources


Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Environmental Science, GIS/Remote Sensing