Sunsquatch - tracking the eclipse and Bigfoot ... at the same time!


In the spirit of my Forecasting Sharknadoes blog post, I now bring you Sunsquatch! In this blog post, I create a map that helps you find a location where you can see the total eclipse *and* have a chance of seeing Bigfoot (aka, Sasquatch)!

But before we get into the nitty-gritty analytics, here's a little something to help get you into the mood for this blog. This is a picture my friend Margie took on the way up to Pike's Peak. This particular mountain is in Colorado, which my map will show is a little south of the total eclipse path. Therefore although your chance of seeing a Bigfoot are fairly high here, your chances of seeing the total eclipse are *very* low. :)

How did I come up with such an awesome idea, you might ask? ... Well, to put it simply - I didn't! Tricia Aanderud send me a screen-capture of a Twitter post showing the original version of the map. And from that point on, my goal was to create my own new/improved version of it!

I already had the NASA data for the path of the eclipse, and the SAS code to plot the eclipse path & lat/long point-data on a map (from my previous blog post). Now all I needed was the data about all those Bigfoot sightings! I happened to mention it to Chris Hemedinger, and (being a data-meister, and fan of oddball/quirky trivia) he found the data and sent me a link within a few minutes. Thanks Chris!

Now, rather than showing cities on my map, I show the locations of Bigfoot sightings. And rather than only showing the markers that are in the eclipse path, I show all the markers for all the sightings (but make the ones in the path bright blue). Here's an image of my map - click it to see the full-size interactive version, where you can click the states to drill down and see more detail.

Once you drill down to a specific state (such as my home state North Carolina), you can hover your mouse over the markers to see details about that particular Bigfoot sighting.

Have you ever seen or heard a Bigfoot, or found a footprint you think one might have made? Or do you know anybody who has a Bigfoot story? My friend Craig loves the great outdoors, and also loves photography - here is a picture he took, that might possibly be of a Bigfoot. If there are any professionals out there, we'd love to hear your opinion on this photo! :-)



About Author

Robert Allison

The Graph Guy!

Robert has worked at SAS for over a quarter century, and his specialty is customizing graphs and maps - adding those little extra touches that help them answer your questions at a glance. His educational background is in Computer Science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from NC State University.

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  1. I don't have any Sasquatch pictures but was able to create visualizations with data from Google Trends. I plotted the data, revealing a strong e=seasonal effect. The seasonality was removed using a 12-month moving average to reveal the true trend. A sharp drop in the number of searches in 2014was modeled using an Unobserved Components Model.

    While the advent of phones with cameras is often credited for the decline in Sasquatch references, the search term maintains a fairly steady level in Google even as phone cameras proliferated in the US beginning in 2009. Then, in 2014, a sharp drop is seen. Perhaps it took several years of no photos before the Sasquatch cottage industry experienced a sudden collapse in 2014.

    I can send the DV's if you like - it doesn't seem possible to post images in the comments. After seeing Sasquatch mentioned here, I was inspired to do the analysis for the book I am writing on Time Series Analysis methods apart from Forecasting. This analysis of the factors underlying the Sasquatch collapse back in 2014 is a good example.

  2. Oh wow ... I'm famous! Robert Allison is talking about me. :-)

    I'm gonna track down one of these creatures and bring it to you. You might want to start thinking of names for him/her. Fluffly .. you know.

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