A data viz shows UFO sightings in sequence since 1933 through little blinking lights over a world map. MBA candidate Christian Pearson created the data visualization graphic using web-based software and National UFO reporting center’s data. The intergalactic graphic is part of QuantBait, an initiative that Pearson wants to tell stories through visualization about issues in politics, economics, and society.
Pearson said that the UFO sighting map was a fun way to convey the idea that great data visualization can offer profound insights. Upon careful examination of the map, one can notice that UFO sightings were at their peak around the 1950s and 1960s.
In the U.S., some of them may be due to the CIA’s U-2 program, an air surveillance initiative during Cold War, active from 1954 to 1974. The program involved C.I.A’s testing of spy aircraft at Area 51, a highly guarded military facility in Nevada that has also been the subject of several extra-terrestrial conspiracy theories. Pearson said that the map also features data records of more recent sightings.
Pearson noted that it’s wrong to assume UFO sightings only happen in isolated, rural areas. The map clearly shows that large number of sighting reports took place in urban areas.