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JRC and World Bank publish global accessibility map

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Just got this in the e-mail from the principal investigator of this dataset:

JRC and World Bank publish global accessibility map
Travel time to major cities: A global map of accessibility
A new global map released today by the Joint Research Centre and published in the World Bank’s World Development Report 2009 measures urbanisation in the new perspective of Travel Time to 8,500 Major Cities. The map fills an important gap in our understanding of economic, physical and even social connectivity.

In the absence of agreement on the meaning of "urbanisation", the European Commission and the World Bank are proposing a new definition based on a unique mapping of “Accessibility” called the Agglomeration Index. In this context, the new map, developed at the JRC's Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES), uses travel-time as a unit of measurement, representing accessibility through the easily understood concept of “how long will it take to get there?” Accessibility links people with places, goods with markets and communities to vital services. Accessibility - whether it is to markets, schools, hospitals or water - is a precondition for the satisfaction of almost any economic need. Furthermore, accessibility is relevant at all levels, from local development to global trade.

Map & poster online at

JRC link 1

JRC link 2

EC Press Release

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Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS



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Very interesting study...and map. What I am concerned about is that there is only 10% of global land mass left that is considered "remote" or "wilderness areas" (more than 48 hours away from a major city) and I have a feeling that most of that is in the north polar regions.

"In wilderness is the preservation of the world" - Henry David Thoreau


Michael Scisco

Albuquerque, NM


Matthew Hampton

Matthew Hampton

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Very cool! Access to things is very important whether it be goods, services or nature. I am very curious to know about the the "mode" of access they are mapping (airline, ocean freighter, train, auto, ped, bike)?

I just looked at the description of the study and it looks as though they left-out air travel and primarily focused on water/land mobility.

Their Agglomeration index and use of "friction surfaces" is rather intriguing. Thanks for the link!

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com

Brandon Tourtelotte

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Thanks Hugo,
very very very cool!

Are you aware of the LandScan product?

Given that EVC is an authorized distributor of this via ORNL, perhaps I should do a separate New Release posting about this product. It's not a just-released sort of product, yet its somewhat similar in scope to this new JRC map.
Brandon Tourtelotte
East View Cartographic, Inc.
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