Who is the most famous person from your hometown? Go ahead, guess.
If you hail from, say, Randolph County, North Carolina, you would likely scream “Richard Petty.” After all, the former stock car racer is known as “The King.” Or maybe you’re from Tupelo, Mississippi, the birthplace of Elvis Presley (another King, coincidentally).
Others might be well-known to U.S. residents too. Anyone from Louisville, Kentucky, might immediately point to Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay). And those from Omaha, Nebraska, would probably name Warren Buffet.
But no matter where you’re from — burb to borough — you probably know of at least someone you consider to be the most famous person from your region.
If you have no idea — or if you want to argue about what you do know — now you can look up such names in a pretty spectacular way.
A computer developer named Topi Tjukanov has created a virtual globe that you can turn, scan and zoom to find the most famous names in any given region (they are large and bold), or even someone a little more obscure from your hometown.
At the broadest level of scanning, users might catch such names as Pablo Picasso, Muhammad (not the Louisville one), Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, Donald Trump or Barack Obama.
But upon zooming in, the map becomes more defined, and more names are added.
An article for InsideHook, a web technology magazine, says Tjukanov used Wikidata (think Wikipedia) and a mapping software called Mapbox to create the map.
The entries are based on places of birth, and the database is said to be cross-verified and includes 2.39 million people born between the years 3500 B.C. and 2018. That’s a lot of cross-verifying.
Keep on clicking
With a click, you can sort the data by sports, culture, discovery, and science and leadership — sort of a “Jeopardy!” board in front of your very eyes.
When you click a name, the map provides a thumbnail of information that includes a “notability rank,” a gender ID, a living/dead determinant and a link to the subject’s Wiki file.
There is rank in the ranks
You can go pretty low on the food chain of notoriety, and, like a lot of things involving Wikipedia, you have to wonder at how clearly the information was sorted and reported.
The level of “notability” might be arguable too, depending on how you rank fame.
Honolulu-born Barack Obama ranks No. 1, while singer Rihanna comes in at 76.5 and star soccer player Christiano Ronaldo at 182 – all higher than Jesus, of Bethlehem, who is No. 204.5 on the notability rank. He also gets a “nope” under “is still alive,” which may be a point of argument for some. You can see more on how the notability index was created here.
Discrepancies aside, the map should spark plenty of conversation — and perhaps even a few arguments — along with a bit of fun.