National Geography Awareness Week and GIS

If you've been following our social media you know it's National Geography Awareness Week. Established over 25 years ago by President Reagan, this week is dedicated to inspiring citizens to learn more about geography.  National Geographic has a great feature program full of maps, lesson plans and more. 

One thing I learned more about during Geography Awareness is GIS or Geographic Information Systems. I knew that it was a type of data analysis, but I didn't understand its remarkable history or depth of modern application. First used by Dr. John Snow in 1854 as a life-saving advance in understanding the transmission of cholera, today it is widely available both commercially and as open source software. 

Bokonon Book's John Fisher did an analysis of our book sales using GIS. He took sales data from October 2016-February 2017 and came up with some interesting maps representing our sales by state. Please note this was a just-for-fun project and as John states in his conclusion:

     This study has some vagaries and uncontrolled variables that prevent me from making louder, stronger claims about how these data are connected to sub-cultural trends. For example, since we sell online you have to have internet access to buy a book from us. An area with unusually good public libraries or greater use of them might not be as inclined to buy books at all. Also, places where individuals share their books directly with one another might also buy fewer online.

     That said, it seems like the northerly coastal states read the most after controlling for population and GSP. Maine, Washington, Massachusetts, and Oregon all order more books than predicted. At the other end of the spectrum, West Virginia, the Dakotas, and Mississippi all come up short. 

To see all of the maps check out our social media today. Follow us on facebook, twitter and instagram!