Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Six-Month Mark of the Geographer-at-Large

Visualization of World Population on the Globe

So, I am now at the end of the first six months of my blog, and I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what’s happened so far, and what the future might bring.  And, being a certain type of geographer, I love to quantify things!  Below is a little status report with some vital stats. 

Page Views
I don’t know too much about other people’s success stories with their blogs, so have no real basis for comparison, but I feel pretty positive about the number of people who have viewed at least a post or two.  I have two different stats tracking programs on the blog: one keeps track of the number of individual page views, (by day, week, month, and “all time”) and the other totals the actual viewers (on a weekly basis, non-cumulative).  As of today, I have had over 22,000 page views during the six months the blog has been in existence, with a high of 5,500 in one month (May).  The daily high was 333 page views (June 26th).  Generally, page views hover around 150-200 per day.  Of course, many of these “viewers” are one-timers, coming in just to grab maps and other images from the blog.  Oh, well. 

Blog Followers and "Top Visitors"
I have 38 people who have registered as “followers,” although I’m not sure if most of them actually read the blog on a regular basis (there’s no way to track the viewing activity of followers).  On the other hand, there are some viewers who read the blog on a regular basis but are not “followers,” so go figure.  The geographic locations of the “Top Visitors,” in terms of number of times they have returned to the site, (the highest was 139 visits) are as follows:
Brooklyn, NY
New York City, NY
Mountainview, CA
Barcelona, Spain
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Mesa, AZ
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Emerson, NJ
Forest Hills, NY
Ossining, NY
Cairo, Egypt
Gdansk, Poland
Cape Town, South Africa
Tea Tree, Tasmania, Australia
Pondicherry, India

Geographic Distribution of Viewers
People from 125 different countries have looked at my blog, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.  These places are all listed on the right side of the page, underneath the world maps.  Of course, the U.S. tops the list with over 15,000 page views, and some other Anglophone countries are next: the U.K., Canada, Australia, India, Egypt.  Then comes Germany, Netherlands, France, and Spain.  Singapore, Indonesia, Italy, and the Philippines are consistently in the top 10 on a weekly and monthly basis, they just didn’t make the “All Time” top 10. 
Naturally, it was exciting to get viewers from the “big” nations (big in terms of both areal extent as well as population) – China, India, Russia, Brazil.  But equally, if differently, fun was seeing viewers pop up from less-well-known and less populated places like Jersey, Malta, Brunei, Greenland, Fiji, Palau, Moldova, Maldives, Qatar, Macau, Micronesia, Montenegro, Nepal, Macedonia, Mongolia. 
There are still some large gaps in the blog viewers world map, though – Where’s someone in Kazakhstan?  Ethiopia?  Most of central Africa?  Iceland?  Antarctica?  Cuba?  Maybe in the next 6 months some of these blank spots on the map will be filled in! 

Favorite Posts:
The 10 all-time favorite posts (meaning they have received the most “page views” of all 78 of the posts) are:
1.   100 years later – The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire {*} with >1,500 page views
2.   Freedom Riders 1961 
3.   Re-discovering African Geographies {*}
4.   WTF is This? Bad Maps!
5.   Kodachrome and the Great Depression {*}
6.   Re-Regionalizing the American Continent {*}
7.   Mapping Urban Inequality” Using the Gini Coefficient {*}
8.   Anthropomorphic and Zoomorphic Maps, Part 3
9.   Greetings From Seattle!
10.Population and Climate Change

Although some of these above are my favorite posts, too, as indicated by the{*}, I have a few others that would have made my personal top post list, including:

§  The African Burial Grounds- An Update and Reflections
§  Freedomland USA: A Theme park shaped like a map (in da Bronx!)
§  Leo Africanus: 15th century geographer extraordinaire
§  Small Island Nations: Contested and complicated places
§  Bursting with Pride: U.S. Geography Textbooks, 1814-1898
§  Global Peace Indices: Can “peacefulness” be mapped?
§  Tuva or Bust! The last journey of a genius
§  Method of Loci – The Memory Palace
§  St.Patrick’s Great Equinox Journey
§  Bogus Art Maps
§  A Most Remarkable Creature!
§  Megaregions! Is this our future?

As most of you have realized by this time, and as evidenced by the topics of my postings, I have very varied interests, mainly focusing on environmental geography, urbanization, demography, and cartography, but I definitely have a soft spot for topics at the intersection of history and geography. 
As John Smith, the renowned cartographer, explorer, and founder of Jamestown, VA, one of the first English settlements in the New World, said in 1624, “As Geography without History seemeth as a carkasse without motion, so History without Geography wandereth as a vagrant without a certaine habitation.”  I couldn't have said it better, myself!

The Future
            What’s in store for the future?  Well, I am pretty sure I will continue the blog, although I will definitely slow down for the next month or so, since I will be in the UK for a major part of July, and then I have tons of deadlines in August.  But I will continue to write about things that I find fascinating dealing with place-based issues.  I would love to hear from any of you about what you find most interesting (or not) and/or what you think works/doesn’t work in the Geographer-at-Large blog.  Please leave a comment with any suggestions or critiques you have.  I would love the feedback.  Writing a blog without getting feedback or reader responses is like writing in a vacuum.  You’re just throwing it all out there into the ether, never too sure what the reaction is. I would like to thank everybody who has written a comment or sent me an e-mail about a post.   In any event, it's lots of fun for me to write, I am enjoying the blog tremendously, and it is one of the world's best procrastinational methods ever devised to avoid doing actual work! 


  1. The list of locations can be a little off. I know that when my location is sent out by my ISP it says Ossining NY because that is where my service is provided from even though I live 15 miles away in Peekskill.

    Still it is impressive seeing people here from every corner of the globe.

    Scott (from Peekskill)

  2. I am astounded by how far you've reached in such a short period of time! Although I (regrettably) do not visit nearly as often as I should, your blog is among the best and most interesting geo blogs I've yet to see. I'm very proud of you, and it's always an inspiration when someone has so much passion for something, (especially when that person is your PhD adviser! lucky me!) Keep it up!

  3. woops! That comment was from me (not "Hunter College GeoClub). I used to keep a blog for them, and somehow it's still connected to my name!

  4. I may not comment, but be assured I read every single blog post and even repost some. I LOVE reading your ramblings/rantings! :)

  5. You are doing great in terms of traffic - my blog is nearly 4 years old and has not topped out 60,000 page views yet (it really started gathering steam about a year ago). My biggest month has been 9,000 pageviews but 4000-5000 is more typical. 150-250 views per day (max around 700).

  6. Hope you have fun in the uk, will u be giving any talks etc here in london?

  7. Greetings, CEENTV. No, not this time. I probably will give a talk when I return (to London) in January, 2012. This time, although I will be in London for a few days, I am really coming over to present a paper at the International Medical Geographers Symposium in Durham.

  8. Congrats! and thanks for your posts !

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