One of the few annoying features of my iPhone is the question it asks every time I want to use its camera: “Camera would like to use your current location. ‘Don’t allow’ / ‘Ok'”. Being a bit of a surveillance paranoid I routinely ‘Don’t allow’, but thanks to the hundreds of thousands of people who do, and mostly, thanks to those who upload their pictures to Flickr and tag them, the researchers at MIT SENSEable City Lab have come up with a fantastic piece of data visualisation. In collaboration with Universitat Pompeu Fabra and the Barcelona Disseny Hub, they have developed Los Ojos del Mundo, with two projects based on pictures taken by both tourists and locals in Barcelona: Spaces of Diversity maps Britons weaving their path in Barcelona; and Spaces of Activity tracks photos from Barcelona with tags related to ‘partying’.
So, what do tourists go for? No surprises there:
Britons who visited Barcelona in Fall 2007 stayed on the beaten paths delimited by the city’s main elements such as Parc Guell and Sagrada Familia, with Passeig de Gracia and Rambla acting as artery. The photos also confirm their pleasure for football (Camp Nou) parties (Forum) and the mediteranean sea (Barceloneta).
And what about partying?
tags related to “partying” in Summer 2007 shows that Barcelona confines its fun to the old town (Ciutat Vella) known for its high density of tourists, the bohemian distric of Gracia and the Forum area and its music festivals.
Yale information designer Edward Tufte introduced us all, many years ago, to the joys of graphically stunning data visualisation. Now IBM’s beta software Many Eyes is available online for anyone to use, offering various alternatives for the graphic organisation of data. One of its most appealing features is the text visualisation option, which crunches through a text file and turns it into word clouds or tree structures, according to the number of instances any given word appears in the text. The ‘Wordle’ (see picture above) and ‘Cloud’ visualisations are informative and pretty, but the ‘Tree’ structure allows for specific word searches within a text and then presents a schematic visualisation of its structural use throughout the text.
I have uploaded two files of recent speeches by Barcelona’s Mayor Jordi Hereu, curious to see what the official vision of the city actually looks like. Not surprisingly, words such as ‘social’, ‘public’, ‘services’, ‘neighbourhood’ and ‘creativity’ loom large.
Most of the visualisations are interactive, you can visit the page here and play around with them – searches for specific words in the Word Tree are especially rewarding.