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October 16, 2013

Mapping the Zombie Apocalypse
By Kaylee Hultgren


Esri's map shows places most likely to be hit in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

In light of “The Walking Dead’s” record-breaking 16.1 million viewers on Sunday night, it’s time to face facts. Zombies have permeated the cable TV landscape. And I’m not just talking about The Walking Dead spinoff from series creator Robert Kirkman that’s to come. There’s BBCAmerica’s “In the Flesh,” now in production of its second season. It follows a re-animated teenager suffering from Partially Deceased Syndrome who, along with thousands of others, must readjust to society with the help of cosmetics, contacts and meds.
 
In the pipeline is Sundance Channel’s “The Returned,” which features a group of confused French zombies. It’s a decidedly different take on the theme—and not just in language. This group of dead people doesn’t know they’re undead. At least at first. It airs on Halloween, naturally.
 
And everyone’s likely seen the Sprint zombie commercial by now. It still makes me laugh. Zombies deserve cell phones, too!
 
Yet it’s not just TV that’s been taken over by the apocalypse. Thriller flash mobs have popped up across the nation. AMC recently partnered with the University of California, Irvine, to teach a Dead-themed interdisciplinary course focusing on public health, physics and math (learn about it from the professors running the course in an article I wrote last month). I shudder to think what Halloween is going to look like this year.
 
And now… drum roll please… we have a map indicating which US counties would be affected first if a zombie apocalypse were to occur. It was put together by geo-mapping technology platform Esri, which used average crime rate and migraine prescription drug use to calculate a Potential Zombie Outbreak Index. It’s based on the assumption that migraine headaches are correlated with crime in order to predict where a zombie outbreak is likely to occur—which they admit is absurd, but hey, no need to split hairs here. Thankfully, it also provides the network of CDC facilities that could protect the public from the walkers.

Check out the map and the blog post from Esri explaining its methodology. See you at the CDC.




 
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