First point for this blog post, I was looking for a way to visualize some the great analysis Erik Zachte did recently on the geographic source of traffic to Wikipedia. A trip through Commons pointed me to a slick online mapping tool and Erik was incredibly helpful at providing me with the data I needed. Here’s the map we came up with, which represents average monthly Wikipedia page views per internet user during July, August and September of 2009:
Green represents countries where the average internet user viewed at least 10 pages per month. Red represents countries where the average internet user viewed less than one page per month. Erik’s analysis is based on geolocation of entries from a preliminary sample of Wikipedia server logs and on the latest estimates of Internet users per country, which for some countries are outdated so will result in overstated usage estimates. That said, it’s interesting and gives insights at a more granular level than previously available due to the lack of scalable free and open source tools like Google Analytics. The underlying data is in this worksheet for anyone who wants to review/expand/improve.
The big question for me is, “What drives the red countries?” Three possibilities come to mind:
- Less developed Wikipedias in local languages
- Current or historical political issues (more on this in a later post)
- Slower access to our sites due to distance from Amsterdam/Tampa
What do you think is driving lower Wikipedia usage among internet users in some countries? What can/should our community do about it? Post a comment with your thoughts.