Monday, May 25, 2009

Paleogeography vs Neogeography

This was a common topic of discussion at Where2.0.  During my monthly email box clean out, I noticed that my GIS-L listserv mail was practically non-existent.  So I compared it to the Geowanking email list traffic. Here are the results:
Number of posts at GIS-L is definitely trending downward in comparison to the number of posts at Geowanking.  Before doing this analysis, I did a quick check of the archives and twittered this:
@spara: #wherecamp GIS is dying.  May listserv stats - gis-l: 2 messages vs geowanking: 99 messages
Dave Smith replied:
@DruidSmith: @spara GIS-L isn't the only trad. GIS listserv out there, ESRI-L, ARCVIEW-L, NEARC-L and others exist and have good traffic.
@DruidSmith: @spara Not to mention may other platform-specific ones, like GeoServer, GeoWebCache, Google Maps listservs...
All good points, but I compared GIS-L against Geowanking because they are the predominant generic geospatially oriented email lists.  Other email lists are focused on a specific vendor or software, so  I thought comparing GIS-L to Geowanking was a more apples to apples comparison.
The data is here if you want to do more analysis, and if you want to gather the data on other email lists, below is a one line bash script to harvest the number of messages per month from a Mailman list archive:
while read line; do url="$line/thread.html"; /sw/bin/wget -q -O- $url | grep 'Messages:'  | awk '/<b>Messages:<\/b>/ {printf $2}' | awk '{sub(/<p>/,"\r");print}';done < dates.txt > geowanking.txt
To run this: 
  1. replace the url to the url list archive of choice, note that the date is held in the $line variable
  2. create a text file call dates.txt with the year and month formated as year-month (2009-May) with only a single year-month entry per line for the time period you want to compare
  3. redirect the output for to the file of your choice ( > myoutput.txt)
It would interesting to see a comparison of email list traffic between open source and proprietary geospatial software. 

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