As a web developer with the Zooniverse in Oxford, one of the things I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is how we can better measure and understand who is visiting our sites and how they use them. One of the tools we use for this is Google Analytics, which breaks down visits to the site by country, demographic, language, browser and more.
Today we got curious about how well known the Zooniverse is across the world, so we asked Google Analytics to tell us about which countries our visitors live in.
We found that the most common places people visit us from are the US, the UK, Canada, Germany and Poland:
And that the most unlikely places people visit us from are Palau, St. Helena, São Tomé, Chad and Wallis & Futuna:
235, we thought? Well that’s almost every country in the world! Clearly we needed to figure out which ones were missing!
So, by comparing our list of visiting countries to the official list of countries, we found that the only countries in the world that Zooniverse has never had a visit from are:
- Christmas Island
- Cocos (Keeling) Islands
- The Gaza Strip
- North Korea
- The Pitcairn Islands
- The Vatican
- The West Bank
- Western Sahara
So, it’s time for a fun challenge, we thought…
This is our challenge to you, Zooniverse volunteers – Can you help us reach 100% global coverage? If someone you know will be visiting any of these 15 countries soon, please try and get them to visit www.zooniverse.org, so that we’ll be able to say that every country in the world is part of the Zooniverse!
* Note: you probably would need to use an official ISP or telco of that country for the visit to show up correctly as originating from that country – and that might make some of them impossible – but we can try!
But wait, those numbers don’t add up…?
Some of the more astute of you may have noticed that there are 240 officially listed countries in the world according to the CIA World Factbook, but the list of missing countries contains more than 5 countries. Well that puzzled us for a minute too, but we realised why – it’s because our 235 originating regions include ten that aren’t officially countries according to the CIA:
and in the list of countries we don’t have, is one that while defined as a country by the CIA, doesn’t really make sense to be considered as such in the context of originating web traffic:
You might want to change the colour ramp on that ramp – every country looks the same colour apart from the States!
It’s a good point James – certainly not much use for anyone who is colour blind! In this case the graph was generated by Google Analytics itself, so it’s not something we have any control over.
Is there really a double entry for French Guiana? Guyana is a separate country, and I’ve never seen it spelled as French Guyana. I don’t see duplicates in this list, for example: http://www.codingwithcody.com/2011/05/google-analytics-country-names/
Thanks Kyle. We do indeed have two separate entries in our analytics:
It seems Guyana is a recognized country, and French Guiana is not. I will update the post and the comment accordingly. Thanks for pointing this out!
Hm, I’m highly doubtful North Korea will be added to the list, considering the whole “no-internet-except-North-Korean-internet” save for the embassies that probably have IP’s for their own countries…
You might well be right. We didn’t say the challenge was easy or even possible! 🙂
If you send me the numbers – I can put a map together for you – gives me a chance to use my GIS skills!
Perhaps part of the reason for mismatches is that the “country” and “IP address” mapping is not purely, and perfectly, 1:1?
There surely have been visits to the Zooniverse from places such as the Åland Islands, and The Vatican (to pick just two examples), but somehow Google Analytics didn’t pick up on it.
And there’s also the “does this ‘country’ even have internet?” Two examples, The Pitcairn Islands and Western Sahara … they may have a ‘country IP address’, but if there’s no server (let alone ISP) there, how could any zooite visit the Zooniverse if they were ever to go there?
You’re absolutely right Jean, on both counts. It’s all just a bit of fun – we’re not seriously expecting to get 100% coverage. North Korea is a deal breaker by itself, never mind some of the others. 🙂
Going beyond a bit of fun, the use of VPNs is (or used to be) a means of getting round the ‘Great Firewall’ in China. I have no idea if any of the Zooniverse’s Talks (or before that, forums) were blocked in China (not Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau), even if the classify pages were not (which surely has some serious implications for the various Science Teams, no?), but given that VPNs used there are (were) overwhelmingly US, perhaps the US numbers contain a significant ‘hidden China’ component? Surely non-trivial, given the sizes of the ‘internet-connected’ populations in both countries, right?
Also, if you add up all 28+ of the EU ‘countries’, does the total come close to that of the US?
Now, these are are absolute numbers of visitors per country. In this way it seems that the Zooniverse is most popular in the US.
However, if you compare these numbers with the size of population, the US comes in third place in this list. Far behind Canada and the UK.
Personally I find these relative numbers more interesting.