Last post I talked about simplifying the UFO database in the interest of getting a working version published in much shorter time frame.

If you have read some of the earlier posts, the original plan was to make a UFO sighting database that broke up UFO sightings into over 200 data points. Data points that could be searched and analyzed, like shape, external light colors, observed texture, sound characteristics, flight behavior, and so on. And  that’s still the ultimate goal of the database, but the process of extracting that data from each sighting is extremely slow.

So I made a decision to simplify the database by having less data points, for the short-term, to get a working version out and available for anyone to use.

The decision to simplify the database seems to have been the right move. As of right now there are 1146 sighting records in the database, which can be viewed and searched. I expect to grow that to about 5,000+ sightings by the end of May (2016). But most of all, I’m excited to announce the first data-crunching graph is available!

The UFO Shape Analysis Graph


UFO Shape Analysis

This graph shows the number of UFO sightings by shape, filtered to show for the state of Texas.


Really it’s a fairly simple analytic, but it’s interactive, useful, and kind of gives a small preview of what’s to come.

You can see the interactive version of the graph here, or click on the colorful ENTER THE UFO RESEARCH DATABASE graphic located on the sidebar, then click on Shape Analysis on the menu bar.

The graph shows the number of UFO sightings by shape. The example above is filtered to show results for the state of Texas. Right now, the graph can be filtered by state, city, country, and/or date range.

Future Development

There’s still a ton of work to be done, but for the near term, I plan to get more sightings added to the database. Adding sighting data will be a never-ending task, but once a respectable number of sightings have been added, I plan to extract more data points from the sighting accounts, then add more analytical graphs accordingly. First data points on the list are…

  • External light colors observed.
  • County where the incident occurred.
  • Sighting Classification

External Light Colors

This is one characteristic that I would like to see in the data as soon as possible. External light colors can be related to other data points of the UFO sighting, such as location, object shape, and so on, which could help identify trends and potentially deepen our understanding of the phenomenon. Or at the very least, lead us to asking more questions.

Not to mention that this orange orb phenomenon is really interesting, and I’d love to be able to filter down to orange orbs sightings by location to see if any patterns emerge.

County Where Sighting Occurred

This will apply only to sightings in the U.S., but extracting the county where the sighting occurred will bring more meaning to regional analysis, and help with finding UFO hot spots since counties are smaller entities. I mean, really. How could you not expect states like California or Texas to have more sightings than say, Rhode Island, or Maryland? Plus some  per capita analysis will come later as well.

Sighting Classification

I’m not sure what the classification system will look like yet. I need to do some research in this area first. But, I expect something like the Hynek UFO Sighting Classification System will go into play here. This type of metric will allow you to weed out some of the ‘lights only’ sightings, so a researcher can focus on the really juicy, up-close sightings, if need be.

Well, that’s it for now. As always, feedback is encouraged. Have any ideas or suggestions to incorporate into the database? Please let me know!