Is Michigan more beautiful than Italy?


Photo by Rachel Kramer

I can now officially pronounce Michigan as the fifth most beautiful place in the world!

With the launch of Jetpac, my big data science job is identifying the photos you'll find most inspiring. I've been exploring the 50 million captions you've shared with us so far, trying to identify patterns, and it really is the most fun part of my day! There's so many surprises hidden in the data, but one of the biggest came when I calculated the places where people were most likely to use the word 'beautiful' in their captions:

#1 Sedona, 10.8x

#2 Cabo San Lucas, 9.7x

#3 Lake Victoria, 6.6x

#4 Amarillo, TX, 6.2x

#5 Michigan's Upper Peninsula, 6.0x

#6 Algarve, Portugal, 5.9x

#7 Montevideo, Uruguay, 5.9x

#8 Bath, UK, 5.9x

#9 Florence, Italy, 5.8x

#10 Hood River Valley, Oregon, 5.2x

A lot of those made perfect sense, who doesn't love Sedona or Lake Victoria, but I had to triple-check my calculations when Michigan showed up! How did the world center of trashed building photography end up in fifth place above Florence?!

As I looked through my friends photos on Facebook and the public ones on Flickr it all started to make a lot more sense. The area around Lake Michigan and the Upper Peninsula in particular are full of stunning scenes, with the storms, massive skys and cliffs producing amazing shots. 

Photo by Kevin Dooley

So now the results started to make a lot more sense. The numbers don't lie! Now I just need to see if I can get a free vacation from the Michigan Tourist Commision, I'm actually itching to check it out after being sucked in to all the photos I've had to check out. I've discovered somewhere new in the world that I'm dying to visit, even though I'd never have thought of going there in a million years.

If you're as interested in playing with the data as I am, I've also put up a tool where you can find the distribution of any words that show up a lot in our 50 million photos, including beautiful, I'd love to hear what patterns you find.


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