Data reenactment via stolen iPhone

Jul 21, 2011

Remember when Joshua Koffman was posting pictures of the guy who had this stolen Macbook? That was oddly fascinating, even if it was peeking in on a pretty mundane day-to-day. Brian House, who works at The New York Times R&D lab, did something similar sentiment but different approach.

His friend’s iPhone was stolen and later returned for a ransom by the thief, five days later. House used the location data stored on the phone, combined with Google Streets View, and stitched everything together into the video below:

House (@h0use) comments:

It’s a bit like if Google was driving the getaway car, starting downtown where the phone was stolen, and traveling over the city until it’s finally given back. Of course, we’re leaving out the pauses when he wasnt moving, and the temporal displacement of Street View images make this a kind of a weird frankendata — while the video retains some relationship to the truth of the human interaction behind it, it remains a kind of data fiction.

Unfortunately, there’s no super happy ending with the perp getting caught, but at least she got her phone back.

[Data Reenactmant via @jakeporway]

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