We've shown that mapping geo-content indexed by Google is a relatively accurate reflection of economic, social and political trends. But what about zombies? Can we map out zombie geographies using some of the techniques that we've developed?
We certainly can try, and the map below an initial attempt to geo-locate zombie demographics. As you can see, zombie references are littered throughout North America and Western Europe: a fact that can only lead us to speculate that zombies are clustered in those places. In Europe, Zombies references are curiously mostly found in the UK and Germany and are largely absent from much of the Mediterranean and almost all of Scandinavia.
Distribution of Zombie Placemarks Worldwide
An initial hypothesis was that zombies are cold blooded and therefore can't spend much time in the far northern reaches of the planet. However, according to the Zombie Research Society it is possible that zombies are able to produce a glycoprotein that can prevent their blood from freezing. In contrast World War Z clearly documents that zombies freeze if they go too far Noth.
So it is still very unclear why references to zombies (and thus the locations of the undead) are so clustered. One final theory could simply be that we are only capturing the very beginnings of a global epidemic and that the zombie infection will start to move across the globe in the same manner in which plague did in the 14th century.
There is one final important issue to bring up. If we examine the Google Trends data for the term "zombie" we see that in most of the countries in which there already seems to be a major zombie outbreak there is already a great deal of vigilance (i.e. people doing searches for zombie related topics).
Google Trends Data Indicating the Number of Zombie Related Searches
However, why are Thais, Swedes and Finns doing so many searches? We can only suspect that the outbreak has already spread to those places, but has not yet been picked up by Google Maps at this early stage. Equally worrying is the fact that Germany is absent from this list. Either most Germans are blissfully unaware of the zombie rampage sweeping through their country, or it is already too late and most Germans have already joined the legions of the undead.
Hmm...the latter hypothesis would explain A LOT about our last visit to Germany.