BDSS IGERT Trainees in the news!

Penn State doctoral students create digital maps - two very different subjects

Global Event mapping: John Beieler created the map as a trainee in Penn State’s National Science Foundation-funded Big Data Social Science Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program and used data culled from the Global Database of Events, Language and Tone — an enormous repository chronicling every documented social event accessible on the Internet. This includes protests, bombings, speeches, peace agreements and a myriad of others.

Once the data was sorted, Beieler compiled it in a spreadsheet, did some minor coding and worked with fellow Big Data Social Science-IGERT trainee and doctoral student, Josh Stevens, to map the data using software called CartoDB. Since its completion, the map has been featured by such news sites as The Guardian, Slate, Foreign Policy and Wired Japan.

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Sasquatch Sightings: US & Canada

Josh Stevens mapped out every Bigfoot sighting compiled by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization from 1921 to 2012. The Pennsylvania State University doctoral candidate and BDSS IGERT trainee admits that the rise in 'Squatch sightings since the 1970s could have had more to do with the release of Bigfoot B-movies at the time, but he says the distinct regions where sightings occur are interesting.

He mapped out 3,313 data points showing sightings across the U.S. The Ohio River Valley, central Florida and the West Coast appear to be the big guy's favorite hangouts.

Of course, Stevens doesn't know if there's an ape-like creature traipsing around our wilderness, but he said the fact that Jane Goodall believed in Bigfoot is "at least worth putting on the map."

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