How to estimate crowd sizes

After the Cavaliers in 2016 delivered Cleveland its first major pro championship in decades, a huge parade and rally followed.

But what also followed were wildly exaggerated estimates of the crowd. Some media outlets, without any attribution, said more than 1 million people showed up. That was impossible, as we detailed. Read the explanation and a video demonstrating the fallacy of those predictions at this link.

There simply were not enough parking spaces, riders on public transit and hotel rooms to accommodate more than 1 million people. But beyond that, a detailed look as the space where a crowd has gathered can help determine a crowd size.

When available, aerial photography with a view straight down can be one of the best gauges. Photos taken from a low position at the most crowded portion of a gathering can be deceiving.

Another key is knowing how much space the crowd occupies.First determine the space covered by the crowd and then follow these guideliness:

A widely accepted method developed in the 1960s at the University of California at Berkley offers this approach to estimating how many people fit into a space. (See the video above for an examples of what these measures look like.)

None of this is exact, but can help bring some common sense to an unsubstantiated crowd guess.