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A Complete Guide To The 43,123 Pools Of The Los Angeles Basin

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Using only publicly-available data and their wits, a graphic designer named Benedikt Gross and a geographer named Joseph K. Lee have put together the (probably) definitive guide to every pool in the Los Angeles basin. The Big Atlas of LA Pools has 6,000 pages in 74 volumes documenting 43,123 pools (imagine if they'd included the Valley!), and so far there's only one copy. The LA Times recounts the whole process--starting with the National Agriculture Imagery Program's satellite photos (analyzed by workers in India) and extending all the way to the Megan's Law databases (we now know that "very few sex offenders live on property with pools"), with stops at the Mapping LA project, the Sheriff's crime database, the Prop. 8 campaign spending database, and more--but let's get to that juicy data:

-- "[T]he typical swimming pool in Los Angeles is oval-shaped and measures 16 feet, 4 inches by 33 feet, 6 inches"
-- Beverly Hills has the most pools per capita at 2,481.
-- Long Beach has the most pools at 2,859.
-- Rancho Palos Verdes is next at 2,592.
-- Watts and Florence have no backyard pools at all, but a total of four public pools.

You can see photos and videos of the atlas over here; it could eventually be published online, but even Gross and Lee aren't sure it's worth it "beyond being a curiosity piece." They have, however, put together a strange pool-to-pool video trip through the LA basin (see the route here) inspired by the Burt Lancaster film The Swimmer, which was based on the famous John Cheever story about a drunk fellow who "swims" home one afternoon via his suburb's pools. Watch here:

The LA Swimmer — 43123 Pools I Have Not Visited and Never Will from Benedikt Groß on Vimeo.

· The Big Atlas of LA Pools [joseph k lee]