Wireless usage in Austin public libraries

Preview of a paper I’m writing for my GIS class.

This map shows wireless sessions in proportion to “wireful” Internet terminal sessions at Austin Public Library branches. The regions on the map relate to the spatial analysis part of the paper: I’ve aggregated census block groups to the nearest library so I can estimate income and demographic characteristics for each branch.

Austin wireless map

My hypothesis is that people in the more affluent parts of town are better prepared to take advantage of the availability of public wireless in Austin. Libraries are a good place to study that because they’re open to everyone and because I could get wireful session counts with which to normalize the wireless counts.

I think this map roughly supports my hypothesis, although interestingly Oak Springs and Ruiz show wireless use more like westside libraries. Can anyone think of anything unusual about those branches to explain their high wireless rates? ACC and/or Riverside student apartments might do it for Ruiz, I suppose.

Meanwhile at Yarborough the wireless count is a full 22% of the wireful count! The next highest is barely over half that, at Old Quarry. Yarborough is my neighborhood branch and there’s nothing obvious to explain it. I’m seriously wondering whether someone in the adjacent apartment complex has a Pringles antenna. :-)