Eighth Anniversary: Top Eights

Today marks the eighth anniversary of The Map Room, which I started on March 31, 2003. Yes, it’s been that long.

The site has gone through a number of different iterations and questionable site designs. In the past year alone, I’ve added Twitter as an option, moved to a new URL, upgraded my Movable Type install, and switched to another commenting system. All the while, I’ve been trying to juggle work on it with other web projects, employment contracts, and the viccisitudes of my medical condition.

But it’s basically the same site, with the same premise: it’s a blog on which I post links to map-related stuff that I find interesting, and I’m still not an expert. (No, I’m not. Really. Stop insisting otherwise.)

For this anniversary, I thought I’d delve into Google Analytics and see what my visitors are like — where you are, what you’re using, and what you’re looking for. On the eighth anniversary, here are some top eight lists. (Yes, top eight. Because I’m being cute.) After the cut, because most of you will find this completely boring.

Where Are You From?

The top eight countries visiting The Map Room:

  1. United States (52.9%)
  2. United Kingdom (9.6%)
  3. Canada (7.6%)
  4. Australia (2.8%)
  5. Germany (2.0%)
  6. France (1.8%)
  7. New Zealand (1.7%)
  8. Netherlands (1.4%)

The top eight languages (presumably based on browser settings):

  1. English (85.8%)
  2. Spanish (2.1%)
  3. French (2.0%)
  4. German (2.0%)
  5. Dutch (1.1%)
  6. Italian (1.0%)
  7. Polish (0.7%)
  8. Portuguese (0.7%)

No surprises in either case: English speakers from anglophone countries. I mean, I write in English. The fact that the U.K. and Canada are number two and three was behind my decision to add Amazon affiliate links for those countries’ stores. I’m sorry, but I have to monetize you.

What Are You Using?

The top eight browsers used by people visiting this site:

  1. Firefox (36.4%)
  2. Internet Explorer (32.5%)
  3. Chrome (15.1%)
  4. Safari (14.4%)
  5. Mozilla Compatible Agent, whatever that means (1.2%)
  6. Opera (1.2%)
  7. Mozilla (0.4%)
  8. Opera Mini (0.1%)

I don’t use Windows, which means I don’t have easy access to Internet Explorer. This means that I don’t necessarily know what my code will look like in that browser. This will be less of a problem as IE 6 goes away, and, as IE 9 displaces earlier versions, it’ll be safer for me to use HTML5 and CSS3 elements.

And here are the top eight operating systems:

  1. Windows (74.3%)
  2. Macintosh (19.3%)
  3. Linux (2.7%)
  4. iPhone/iPod touch (1.5%)
  5. iPad (1.2%)
  6. Android (0.5%)
  7. Not set (0.3%)
  8. BlackBerry (0.1%)

If you combine iPhone, iPod touch and iPad numbers, the combined total is greater than that for desktop Linux. I’ve been posting a lot about iOS mapping, and the iPad in particular, and I’ve always been posting a disproportionate amount about the Mac platform, which could explain higher numbers for those platforms.

As a group, mobile devices make up 3.4 percent of the total.

Where Are You Coming From and What Are You Looking For?

Search engines generated 51.2 percent of my traffic last year, followed by referrals from other websites (31.4 percent) and direct traffic (17.3 percent). Which is to say that I’m blogging for future use — for someone looking for something via a search engine — as much as I am for regular readers or for people sent here by another blog or a tweet. More so, actually.

Regarding search engine traffic, these are the top eight search terms that led visitors to The Map Room:

  1. yanko tsvetkov
  2. christchurch quake
  3. piri reis map hoax
  4. the map room
  5. oil spill map
  6. light pollution map
  7. amtrak route maps
  8. map room

As we will see, the Yanko Tsvetkov post from May 2009 — yes, 2009 — remained unusually popular.

Regarding referrals, these are the top eight referring sites that sent visitors here:

  1. Google (28.3%)
  2. Yahoo (12.1%)
  3. StumbleUpon (4.1%)
  4. Pajamas Media (3.9%)
  5. Facebook (3.1%)
  6. Twitter (2.6%)
  7. Planet Geospatial (2.4%)
  8. Google LatLong (1.1%)

Below the eighth-place cutoff there are even more blogs. I suspect that the Google and Yahoo numbers represent RSS traffic (Google Reader, My Yahoo) rather than searches.

Finally, these are the most popular individual blog entries, based on the number of page views over the past year:

  1. Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Maps (March 11, 2011)
  2. Eyjafjallajökull and European Airspace (April 18, 2010)
  3. Yanko Tsvetkov’s Beloved Europe (May 2, 2009)
  4. Paramount’s Geographic Facsimile Map of 1927 (May 19, 2010)
  5. Mapping the Gulf Coast Oil Spill (May 1, 2010)
  6. U.S. College Degrees by County (October 24, 2010)
  7. London WWII Bomb Damage Maps (July 15, 2005)
  8. Christchurch Quake Map (September 9, 2010)

As a rule, natural disasters generate a huge amount of traffic: as people turn to the web for more information, as often as not, they’re looking for a map. (This was at its most intense during Katrina.) I try to be mindful of that fact when things take a turn for the worst: that people are going to be looking for maps about this, so I’d better get on it.