My name is Ben Matheson. I build web and data projects to help people solve problems and improve their work. I live in Anchorage, Alaska. I work extensively with #rstats and sometimes #d3 to analyze data, visualize ideas, and otherwise build things on the internet. I’m always looking for interesting projects.

A couple somewhat recent projects include:

  • building a mobile-focused website
 • documenting Alaska Governors’ Wild Ride on Oil Prices
 • 2020 election pdf-scraping/rmarkdown mail-in voting tracker

Email me or find me on twitter. You can find code on GitHub. I’ve also worked as a public radio reporter across Alaska and maintain several unnecessary twitter bots.

Alaska Governors' Wild Ride on Oil Prices

January 2021 · 6 minute read

In 2018, prior to the outset of the new Governor Mike Dunleavy administration, I wanted to see how the oil markets had been for each of Alaska’s governors on a relative basis. We were ~four years into cheap oil. I indexed the price of oil (monthly data) to their first day in office and saw who took the elevator up and who rode it down. So I made this plot:


There’s no axis label or … Website

December 2020 · 5 minute read

As part of a test and trace COVID-19 strategy, the Municipality of Anchorage set up a system of ~six COVID-19 testing sites in 2020 to give residents access to free and safe testing. In my work for the Anchorage Innovation Team, I worked with public health officials to help people get access to this testing.

**TL:DR, we made a lightwight, mobile-first website to connect people to free COVID-19 …

2020 Iditarod Mushers Scratched at the Highest Rate in 40 Years

April 2020 · 4 minute read

The 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race will be remembered as the year the coronavirus upended the final days of the race and saw checkpoints lock down as the race finished in Nome. But it will also go down as of the most unforgiving for mushers: of the 57 mushers who began the race in Willow, 22 scratched and went home early.

2020’s scratch rate of 38.5% ranks fourth highest in 48 years of …

Alaska Wildfire Growth Animations

August 2019 · 1 minute read

The 2019 fire season has been destructive and long-lasting. More than 2.5 million acres have been burned across 707 fires as of September 9, 2019, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center .

Below are videos showing the mapped fire perimeters growth over the course of the summer (until the end of August).

Statewide Fires

Swan Lake Fire

The Swan Lake fire has burned since …