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Publications > Dateline Houston > April 2004 > Feature Article

Volume 43, Issue 7

April 2004

Member News

Geographical Distribution of STC Houston Members

by John Turner, Technical Writer, The Integrity Group

The information in this article is derived from the addresses and zip codes given in the STC Houston membership directory dated August 2003. Of the writers listed in the directory:

    • 66% give their work address
    • 26% give their home address, or a PO box presumably near their home
    • 8% do not give any contact address

Summary of Overall Membership Distribution

Distribution of Houston—Area STC Members by Zip Code

 Each red dot on this map represents one member. The dots within a zip code zone are distributed fairly evenly to indicate the membership density within that zone, so the location of any given dot doesn't correspond to the exact location of a member. The red zone has 48 members - too many to draw individually within the particular zip code zone at this scale.

Click on image for larger size

A Few Caveats

Before interpreting this map, bear these facts in mind:

    • Some zip code boundaries have probably changed since this map was originally published.
    • Like a telephone directory, the membership directory is outdated as soon as it is printed. The distribution derived from it and shown here is thus only approximate.
    • The map doesn't show the location of the numerous technical communicators who aren't members of STC.


    • The average Houston worker commutes for about 25 minutes each way, so a work address (given by 66% of members) does not give a good indication of where a person lives.
    • Someone who lists a work address might actually telecommute most of the time.

Thus, this map doesn't show exactly where the majority of members live, or exactly where everyone works. However, it does indicate regions that have high concentrations of members at some time between about 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on a typical weekday.

A Few Details

The zone just to the right of Cypress with 15 members is 77070. Of these 15, 12 work at HP.

The red zone is 77042. Of the 48 members in this zone:

    • 27 work at BMC Software.
    • 15 have home addresses in 77042.
    • Six work at other companies in the area, such as Kitba (now part of Valley Forge).

As it happens, the 77042 region also encompasses the Hilton Westchase Hotel, where we hold our monthly program meetings. Thus, it seems that the meeting venue is as close to optimally located as we can hope to get it.

One apparent conundrum: 51 STC members are listed in the directory as working for BMC Software, while only 33 work for HP. This ratio might seem odd, since BMC Software locally is less than half the size of HP. Are HP writers much faster than those at BMC Software (so HP does not need to hire as many)? Are BMC Software writers more meticulous? The most likely reason is that BMC Software does not often hire contractors, whereas HP hires many, and contractors do not indicate the host company in their contact address.

Distribution of Other STC Houston Members in Texas

This map shows most of the remaining Texas members, except for two in Nederland who are included on the third map. The pink-bordered square represents the approximate boundary of the Houston-area map. Conroe and Texas City do not have any members, but they are included on this map to give a better indication of where the boundary for the Houston-area map lies.

There are usually one or two people from this "outer region" at each monthly program meeting.

Click on image for larger size

STC Houston Members Who Live Outside Texas

Some of the members marked on this map have made the heroic trip to Houston to attend a monthly program meeting. Maybe one day, the member from Clinton, MS, will give us a big surprise.

Click on image for larger size

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