2012 is winding down and that means plenty of compelling, fun and ridiculous countdown lists. From the Top Google Search Terms, to Time Magazine’s Top 10 Photos, there’s something for everyone.

One year-end catalogue we’ve been enjoying that’s a little less conventional than the noted examples, is GIS Lounge’s Six of this Year’s Most Interesting Maps. In particular, we’re impressed with Derek Watkin’s population density map because of the obvious correlation between that data and new home developments.

“Using 2010 data from CIESIN Gridded Population of the World, Watkins plotted out a series of maps showing the population density of the world based on people per kilometer,” the GIS Lounge post explains. “The sliding scale adjusts the people per kilometer in increments of 5. Other than a smattering of labels, the sliding scale map shows no geographic features. At the lowest density, the continents are clearly visible and but rapidly disappear with the exception of the regions of Asia as the population density increases towards 75 people/km.”

The map is best enjoyed on Derek Watkin’s website, where users can use the sliding scale to see where the most crowded places in the world are. One thing that stands out on the map no matter where you put the scale, Canadians have tonnes of room to stretch their arms and legs.

For the full map list, which also includes the equally cool “Wind Map,” be sure to check out GIS Lounge.

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