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The Notable People Map: Around the world in famous names

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Ever wondered just who is the most famous person from your home town?

If the answer isn’t you, a new online map might just help answer that question.

The newly-released Notable People Map, created by geographer and senior designer at navigation company Mapbox, Topi Tjukanov, shows the birthplaces of the world’s most famous people – past, present, historic and infamous.

“I made a map of the most notable people around the world,” Mr Tjukanov tweeted. 

The information is scraped from a cross-verified database of notable people from 3500BC- 2018 as part of a study published in Nature.

“A new strand of literature aims at building the most comprehensive and accurate database of notable individuals,” the research team wrote.

“We collect a massive amount of data from various editions of Wikipedia and Wikidata.”

The site uses information from Wikipedia and Wikidata to produce results, some more surprising than others, of who might live or have lived in your neck of the woods.

Notable figures were judged on the length of their Wikipedia biographies, the number of external links from Wikidata and their average number of views between 2015 and 2018, along with other factors.

Tjukanov then processed this data to “show only one person for each unique geographic location with the highest notability rank,” according to Mapbox.

How it works

At first glance, the map is dotted with names of notable figures, from celebrities, to athletes and politicians, occupying the spots of city names.

It is designed to show one person for every unique geographic location with the “highest notability rank”.

Notability is measured using five variables: The number of different Wikipedia editions for each individual, the total word count in Wikipedia biographies, the average number of page views between 2015 and 2018, the total number of external links from Wikidata and the number of non-missing items from Wikipedia or Wikidata for categories such as birth date, gender and domain of influence.

On clicking an influential figure’s name, users can see their notability rank, gender and whether or not they are still alive.

More prominent figures have bigger names on the map.

Topping the global notability ranks are former US presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, assuming the titles for their birthplaces of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Queens, New York, respectively.

Users can filter searches under categories of culture, discovery and science, leadership, sport and games and real place names. And as you zoom in, more and more names appear.

Unsurprisingly, some regions boast more influential figures than others.

Greater London is one, with a slew of heavyweight names such as Charlie Chaplin, Mick Jagger and David Bowie.

The Australian map also reveals numerous household names, among them singers Kylie Minogue and Sia, and actor Hugh Jackman.

The interactive map is gaining plenty of traction online. Mr Tjukanov’s post has had hundreds of retweets and Twitter users are sharing their results after perusing the interactive globe. 

“Sharing a birthplace with Frank Oz will never stop pleasing me. I like to tell people that means both Yoda and Fozzie Bear were born in the same hospital as me,” one British user said.

“Love the New York City map… Rappers and celebs abound. Brooklyn goes strong,” another tweeted.

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