Update, 1 Feb 2009: Carrie analyzes the map at See What I Mean: Information Visualization.
The world is shrinking. Cheap flights, large scale commercial shipping and expanding road networks all mean that we are better connected to everywhere else than ever before. But global travel and international trade and just two of the forces that have reshaped our world. A new map of Travel Time to Major Cities - developed by the European Commission and the World Bank - captures this connectivity and the concentration of economic activity and also highlights that there is little wilderness left. The map shows how accessible some parts of the world have become whilst other regions have remained isolated. 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 and this map fills an important gap in our understanding of the spatial patterns of economic, physical and social connectivity.Travel time to major cities: A global map of Accessibility (European Commission - Global Environment Monitoring) -- via Thomas P.M. Barnett
One of the most astonishing things I learned is how little wilderness is really left - only about 10% of the planet's surface is more than 48 hours travel time from a major city.