Mapping zombies
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Description

Using a keyword search for "zombies", the following map visualizes the absolute concentrations of references within the Google Maps database.

Data

In order to measure the amount of content about zombies indexed by Google, a dataset was created based on a 0.25 x 0.25 degree grid of all the land mass in the world (roughly 250,000 points). A buffer was then constructed for each point using a sliding variable size based on the great circle distance to neighbouring points in the grid pattern. It was important to adjust this value in order to compensate for decreasing distance between longitudes as the software moves from the equator to the poles. For each point and buffer combination a search was run in Google Maps to measure the total number of hits for user-generated content at each location (as defined by Google).

Findings

The map reveals two important spatial patterns. First, much of the world lacks any content mentioning "zombies" whatsoever. Second, and related, the highest concentrations of zombies in the Geoweb are located in the Anglophone world, especially in large. The results either provide a rough proxy for the amount of English-language content indexed over our planet, or offer an early warning into the geographies of the impending zombie apocalypse.

Author(s): Dr Mark Graham
Taylor Shelton
Matthew Zook
Monica Stephens
Published: July 2011
License: Creative Commons [CC BY-NC-ND]
Data Source: Google
Tools: -
Tags: -
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