Wednesday, July 6, 2011

today's regionalism brought to you by ma bell

how to define the pacific northwest?

often, it refers to just oregon & washington, once upon a time one territory, the locations of the major cities in this corner of the U.S.

sometimes, BC and alaska are thrown in - if the focus is more ecological, this makes sense, as it's the swath covered by the temperate west-side forests.

sometimes it's more broadly defined to include instead areas to the east - idaho and montana. neither really fit into any other region, unless one draws an intermountain region that encompasses the territory of the rocky mountains.

but now, this is a super cool way to think about a region, as a community of people who are definitely interconnected - as evidenced by who they talk to.

as reported in the new york times, some researchers at MIT, AT&T and IBM analyzed aggregated cellphone traffic and defined connectivity by the amount of calls sent within an area, irrespective of state boundaries.

what'd they come up with? well, that calls orginiating in and destined for certain areas stuck out. for example, louisiana and mississippi had a lot of connectivity. and the panhandle of florida connected more to alabama and georgia than the rest of florida.

and there's our beleoved PNW! oregon, washington, and the northern bit of idaho - all looking towards and talking to each other. southern idaho, on the other hand, connects - not surprisingly - with utah.

it's too bad that there's insufficient data for eastern oregon and montana, to see what communication community they belong to.

here's the original web page for this:

a preview of the map they created is below. enjoy!


  1. oregonians only call washingtonians to talk trash!


  2. i wonder if there's a spike during timbers-sounders games?!