Growing Audience for YouTube’s Geostats Guy
November 12, 2020
Michael Pyrcz is an associate professor at the Jackson School of Geosciences and the Cockrell School of Engineering. On YouTube, he’s better known as the Geostats Guy. In June 2020, his channel, GeostatsGuy Lectures, passed the 5,000 subscriber mark after two years of uploads. At 5,750 subscribers and counting, the trend doesn’t show any signs of stopping.
Pyrcz attributes the channel’s success to the accessibility of his content. “There are long-standing concepts in geostatistics that many struggle with, including kriging and variograms,” Pyrcz said. “I have novel content that I think is very accessible.” Pyrcz’s most popular video, “Geostatistics Course: Kriging,” covers the process of interpolation to make spatial estimates and has more than 17,000 views. This is just one of more than 130 videos covering topics in data analytics, geostatistics, spatial data analytics and machine learning.
Pyrcz’s video comments are full of viewers asking questions and extrapolating on the lecture. On the video about kriging, the top comment comes from subscriber Amit Joshi, who said, “I appreciate you posting such valuable lectures for public learning. Kudos to you.”
Pyrcz started his YouTube channel at the request of his undergraduate students who wanted recorded lectures to study, though he quickly developed a goal of removing barriers to learning so he could help diversify his field.
“I realized that in this modern, connected world, anything I give my students will be eventually posted online,” Pyrcz said. By posting it all into a YouTube channel, “I saw an opportunity to provide a single point for the products.”
Since then, his audience has spread beyond undergraduates. According to Pyrcz’s analysis, only about 20% of his subscribers are undergraduate students. About 60% are graduate students or early career professionals, and the remaining are mid- to late-career professionals. The channel also has international appeal, with about 70% of viewers outside the United States.
Other professors have even started using Pyrcz’s videos in their courses. Glen Nwaila of the Economic Geology Research Institute at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Geosciences is one such subscriber.
“Michael Pyrcz’s videos are unique and one of the best I have ever come across so far in this subject of spatial/geostatistics,” Nwaila said. “He explains complex concepts in a simplified form and also tries to break down why we do certain things. Michael’s content provides a balanced approach of theory and application. I am grateful for what he has compiled.”