Seeking creator Mike Bostock

Hi there, performing a Google search, I came across a nice population map of California (circa 2010-2014?) that Mike Bostock created. Tracking down that map lead me to this site/forum. How can I contact Mr. Bostock? Don’t think it is wise to post my email here but maybe a forum administrator or friend could contact him for me?

Many thanks,

Hello Marcus - you can direct your inquiry (along with relevant details) to me at Thanks!

Thx for the quick reply… will do.

Good day!

Thanks for taking my inquiry, Clint.

As mentioned, I came across this image of a population map of the State of California created by Mike Bostock. Apparently a recreation of a 2014 map that was on Wikipedia (Wikimedia). His version is more detailed and less pixilated than the Wiki version.

I am part of a small 3-man team that is training firefighting aviation pilots using flight simulator. I am creating scenery for training areas they can fly through and want to use this map as a reference to help distinguish between populated and non-populated areas suited for training/areas to create scenery.

Would it be possible to use/obtain this map for this purpose?

Many thanks to all,


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Note that the original can be found on The image in that page is an SVG and, as such, can be extracted with SVG Crowbar and should scale nicely. The license on that page is GPL 3, which means you should be able to use it for non-commercial purposes.

Alternatively, it would not be hard to generate that image from the underlying data. The process is described in great detail in the classic Command Line Cartography article, though that is some years old now. Since the data is public domain, you’d then have the image free and clear.

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Thx mcmcclur, for the suggestion. I will take a look at both options as well to see if I can capture or recreate my own.


This sounds like a very cool project, Marcus. Thank you for sharing! I am just trying to sync with Mike but I don’t see any issues with you using the map. I’ll get back to you asap!

Marcus - please feel free to use this map. You can attribute it to “Observable - Mike Bostock” and it comes with instructions on how to recreate it from scratch.

One important thing to note: this map has not been peer reviewed for mistakes and it is based on 8-year old data. It should not be an issue since you are using this for simulation purposes only, but we want to ensure that we are not responsible for any unintentional flights over populated areas.

Please let me know if you have additional questions and we’d love to see the end result!

  • Clint Bagley, Head of Communications

Ah, that’s great to hear. It will only be used as an internal reference so it would not be published or distributed. Despite being older data, I think it will work great for out purposes, otherwise I will look at the methods you guys describe in creating one with more recent data.

Thanks to all involved,