Saturday, April 11, 2015

UFO Maps Invade The Internet

UFO Maps Invade The Internet

By Alejandro Rojas

     You may have noticed in your local news a story about how many UFO sightings are in your state or county. These stories have been popping up all over the world due to a new UFO sighting map created by a company called FindTheBest.

The detailed interactive map shows UFO sightings reports down to the county level, and color codes areas based off of the number of reports. FindTheBest has done a great job getting the word out about their map, because stories are popping up all over the place with local news stories giving details about the number of sightings in their respective states and counties.

FindTheBest is a California-based company that collects data and provides an easy to use interactive interface to examine the data in many different ways. Lee Speigel of The Huffington Post’s Weird News, interviewed FindTheBest Product Manager Lane Allison to find out more about their popular map.

“We downloaded UFO sightings from the National UFO Reporting Center and took all of the locations and tried to standardize them,” said Allison.

The National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) is a website that has been collecting UFO sighting reports since 1994. It is a one man show ran by Peter Davenport in Washington state. According to The Huffington Post, FindTheBest “culled information from over 61,000 reports, narrowing it down to nearly 39,000 reports from which they created their map visualization.”

“After we got latitude and longitude pairs, we could determine the number of UFO sightings that have been reported in counties. Then, we cross-referenced that with the American Community Survey population estimates of those counties, resulting in UFO reports per capita number,” Allison told The Huffington Post.

She continued, “What we learned through our research is that, in fact, most UFO sightings aren’t actually reported, and between 98-99 percent of those that are reported can be explained by natural phenomena, whether by shooting stars or even a flock of birds. So we wanted to give more of a per capita [per person] number, which is why we created the per capita statistics.”

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