For a month now we have been getting news about the Occupy movement that started on Wall Street in the beginning of October. There has been some arguing about the size of this movement. Guardian has made and interesting attempt to answer the question using crowdsourcing. I took a different approach.
The protest are coordinated at the site meetup.com. Here you find a complete list of the 2 506 occupy communities. I wrote a Ruby scraper that goes through this list and gathers information about all the meetups that has been arranged so far (more than 4 000 in a month).
I used the D3.js library to visualize the the list of meetups. This is the result (opens in new window):
The movement clearly peaked on Octboer 15th with meetups in around 600 different locations around the world. Protestors have continued to rally on Saturdays, but not with the same intensity.
Note that there is a number of protests that are missing here. I had some technical difficulties geocoding special characters (using the Yahoo Place Finder API), but that should not distort the picture of how the movement has developed. I didn’t have time to resolve the problem at the moment, but if someone knows how to get the API to understand odd characters such as ä, é and ü I’d appreciate the assistance.