oa East African Geographical Review - A map of the surface of population potential over Tanzania, 1967

Volume 1970, Issue 8
  • ISSN : 1937-6812



Potential of population is an index of the nearness, or accessibility, of people. It is equal to the number of people divided by their distance away and has the dimensions of persons per unit distance. Using data grouped by areal units, the potential which the population of a segment of an area creates at a distant segment is that population divided by the distance between the two segments - the population of each segment is assumed to be concentrated at some chosen control point within their boundary and the distance is measured between these two points. The total potential at each segment is itself potential plus the sum of all the separate potentials created there by the population of all the other segments. If this summed-up value is computed for each segment within the total area, it is possible to interpolate isopleths of potential on a map. (1)

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