Have you personally seen a Sasquatch? You know, a giant fur-carpeted man-thing striding through the forest like, oh, some guy in a Harry and the Hendersons suit? No? Ever wanted to know where others have reported seeing the mythical creature? Well now there’s a map for that.
Belief in Bigfoot may rank right up there with ghosts, UFOs, the chupacabra and other bits of folkloric moonshine, but if you’ve ever wanted a way to visualize all the public misidentification in one place, dataset guru Joshua Stevens, a Ph.D. candidate at Penn State, has you covered with a stylish new map that pinpoints Bigfoot sightings over the past 92 years.
Why take over 3,000 sightings reported between 1921 and 2013 and turn them into a map? For the fun of it, in so many words, and because Stevens says the data was just sitting there, waiting to be geo-articulated.
Through archival work and reports submitted directly to their website, the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization has amassed a database of thousands of sasquatch sightings. Each report is geocoded and timestamped. Occasionally, even photos and videos of the alleged evidence are included. I’m not quite sure how I stumbled across this, but I’m glad I did.
At first blush, the sightings seem to correspond to populated areas. But wait! says Stevens, if you take a something something [insert fancy geographical information systems jargon] view, you discover “distinct regions where sightings are incredibly common, despite a very sparse population,” whereas “in some of the most densely populated areas sasquatch sightings are exceedingly rare.”
The takeaway: Bigfoot seems to be doing its (her? his?) thing mostly out west.