Instagram cities

Posted to Visualization  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

The collaborative project Phototrails is a visual exploration of millions of Instagram photos, building on previous work with ImagePlot, which lets you see a lot of photos at once.

How do we explore social medias visual data which contains billions of photographs shared by hundreds of millions of contributors? What insights can we gain from this type of massive collective visual production?

Phototrails is a research project that uses experimental media visualization techniques for exploring visual patterns, dynamics and structures of planetry-scale user-generated shared photos. Using a sample of 2.3 million Instagram photos from 13 cities around the world, we show how temporal changes in number of shared photos, their locations, and visual characteristics can uncover social, cultural and political insights about people's activity around the world.

The charts above, starting from the top left and moving clockwise, are a sample of 50,000 Instagram photos each from San Francisco, Tokyo, Bangkok, and New York City, organized by hue and brightness.

The bottom two look a lot brighter than the top two, but I suspect that's because hue median is used for the former and hue mean for the latter. That's probably also why you see more distinct lines on the bottom, especially towards the edges, whereas the top spectrum is more continuous. Then you have a nice sudden break in color for the black and white photos.


Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.

The Most Unisex Names in US History

Moving on from the most trendy names in US history, let’s look at the most unisex ones. Some names have …

Famous Movie Quotes as Charts

In celebration of their 100-year anniversary, the American Film Institute selected the 100 most memorable quotes from American cinema, and …

Watching the growth of Walmart – now with 100% more Sam’s Club

The ever so popular Walmart growth map gets an update, and yes, it still looks like a wildfire. Sam’s Club follows soon after, although not nearly as vigorously.