Aliens Among Us

This week I've been continuing to explore geospatial analysis, but rather than mapping vacancies, average rents, or land usage, I've decided to set my sights on UFOs.

Working together with Charles Rickleton, we were able to create an online map of America (lower 48 states) that shows all recorded UFO sightings dating back to the 1940s! The larger bubbles on the map represent more sightings. The first thing to note is that many major metropolitan areas tend to have the largest bubbles, as higher populations tend to correlate with more sightings. The next step in this project would be to normalise population densities versus alien sightings to see where the true hot spots are located.

For now, here is the map. For a more detailed explanation of where the data came from and how it was mapped, see below.

Data for this map was provided by the National UFO Reporting Center. This data was then pulled out and converted into an excel file through the CSV import tool. Using Excel, we were able to concatenate location values, which were then cross referenced to a database of city locations and their zip codes using the VLOOKUP tool. Lastly, multiple values were compiled and counted giving each zip code a corresponding numerical value of the number of sighting listed.

Now, the one thing to consider is that the National UFO Reporting Center simply states a city, which can contain numerous zip codes. As a general rule of thumb, this map is accurate, but a close zoom in of a micro-region's reporting may be slightly shifted depending on where the actual call came in from (which is not data we have access to). However, seen from a national level this map is very accurate.

Update ///

After spending a bit of time with this map, I realised that a normalisation is really required as major urban centres had naturally higher values. The new normalisation maps is below. Check out the hot spots in Missouri, Arizona, and the Appalachian Mountains!