How People Will See the Eclipse Today

A 33-year GIS professional lets loose his geospatial and population analysis skills on the occasion of a lifetime: today's "Great American Eclipse."
August 21, 2017, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Suzanne Tucker

Michael Zeiler forecasted traffic impacts from eclipse-viewing visitors around the country in an impressive bit of GIS analysis.

Zeiler's analysis of the human response to this celestial event considers the "accessibility of the August 21 total solar eclipse is simultaneously a great benefit and a problem." The benefit is the chance to view a total eclipse, but the problem is the congestion resulting from something like "20 Woodstock festivals occurring simultaneously across the nation."

Zeiler's breathless appreciation of the eclipse is supplemented with a series of infographics, including a particularly fetching image of the "population access and estimated visitation" for the eclipse, which shows all the roadways people will travel and the likely viewing points for today's solar eclipse.

After presenting the infographic and detailing his methodology, Zeiler predicts the following for today's spectacle behind the spectacle: "Clearly, the state with the greatest impact on eclipse day will be South Carolina. It is the closest destination for the entire Eastern Seaboard. Other states with major impacts will be Tennessee, Missouri, and Oregon."

Other infographics in the post include "drive times to the path of totality," "population proximity to the path of totality" (i.e., 12.2 million Americans live in the path of totality), and "drivesheds of the great eclipse."

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Published on Monday, August 21, 2017 in Great American Eclipse
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