A geo-data company crossed reference smart phone device data and U.S. Census data to determine crowd density in the path of the total solar eclipse.
Skyhook posted on their blog that the largest increases were seen in Nashville, Kansas City and St. Louis. They also determined that national parks, preserves and monuments were popular destinations for viewing the August 21 eclipse.
Skyhook says that Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve in Idaho, Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming experienced heavy traffic.
When compared to the Monday before the eclipse, “activity” was up 34%.
The solar eclipse spurred more than 9 million tweets globally, along with 240 million interactions from more than 66 million Facebook users. Facebook said the solar eclipse sparked more discussion than Super Bowl LI.
Definitive traffic counts are still slow to roll out, but the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet did release a study on the 31st of August. They said some counties experience more than 100% increases in traffic congestion.
How did Skyhook do it?
Skyhook says they used data from the US Census block group. A block group is the smallest geographical unit for which the bureau publishes full demographic data and each one contains between 600 and 3,000 people. There are around 220,000 block groups in the US and around 10,000 of them were within the path of totality during the eclipse.
Skyhook says their device data, which is depersonalized and de-identified. Was crossed referenced with the block groups.
Who is Skyhook?
Skyhook’s global network powers billions of location requests in all of the places that they happen. Their customers include Apple, Samsung, Sony and Mapquest.
The next visible eclipse in the U.S. is seven years away. It will occur on April 8, 2024. The path of that eclipse will span Texas to Maine.