Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

Satellite view of the inauguration

January 21st, 2009, 11:56am by Sam Wang


Taken by Geosys and visible with 0.5-meter resolution here, at Popular Science.
wmark-thumb-512x235Thanks to Marc Ambinder and Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic.

Now, how to estimate the crowd from this image? Update: an interactive version via the Washington Post is here.

Tags: 2008 Election

2 Comments so far ↓

  • VFA

    I took at stab at it; its not perfect, but it provides a baseline.

    At least 1,748,445 people attended Barack Obama’s Inauguration.

    http://voteforamerica.net/editorials/Comments.aspx?ArticleId=196&ArticleName=Inauguration+Crowd+Count

  • Lorem

    Well, from a purely theoretical point of view, split the visible crowds into the dense sections and the tails to hopefully remove some of the density variation. Then, figure out the areas of each of the two categories, and then apply the typical technique for such things (divide area occupied into small sections, determine an average number of people in each section, and multiply by the number of sections occupied, while using the appropriate distributions for the estimates).
    Of course, even just figuring out the areas would be rather labour-intensive and if the crowd density varies too much, the estimate could still prove imprecise. Taking samples from their heads and tail-ends (all the crowds seem vaguely teardrop-shaped) may help a bit.