Understanding Patterns of Extraterrestrial Phenomena: An Exploratory Spatial Analysis of UFO Sightings Throughout the Contiguous United States from 1910-2014
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractAre humans alone in the universe? It is one of the most profound existential questions of all time. It is a question that this project regrettably will not answer. We all want to know if UFOs are real because not understanding the unexplained is uncomfortable. Analyses in this project seeks to uncover consistent patterns in the reported sightings of extraterrestrial phenomena in the contiguous United States in the last century. The purpose of this master’s project is to analyze data to look for patterns and relationships between UFO sightings and population density, population movement over the last century, and UFO sightings relationships to military installations across the Contiguous United States. To do so, tabular data was geocoded, and a geodatabase was established reflecting sightings between 1910 and 2014. The points were clipped to the Contiguous United States and analysis of the data focused on density and buffer analyses to examine population density relationships, mean center for population movement through time, and buffer analyses to examine sightings relationships to military installations. Results tend to show a relationship between population density and increased sightings of UFOs. No conclusive results showing temporal patterns related to a mean center analysis and mixed results related to military installations were found. GIS based research on UFOs is an important and growing field of study. This Masters Project contributes to helping us better understand UFO data from a spatial science perspective.