Friday, August 02, 2013

Perceptions of Place

In February of last year Google Maps Mania looked at Place Pulse, a Street View survey measuring respondents' perceptions of locations based on how they look on Google Maps Street View. One year on Place Pulse has started reporting some interesting results.

MIT's Place Pulse project is a crowd-sourced experiment examining people's perceptions of different urban environments. The project aims to quantitatively recognize which areas of a city are perceived as wealthy, modern, safe, lively, active, unique, central, adaptable or family friendly based on how people respond to Street View images of the city.

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The Place Pulse Rankings page looks at the results of the survey, which consist of 100,000 images from 56 cities. The rankings table shows the results for each evaluated perception for each of the 56 cities. Users can therefore see which cities are perceived as the most wealthy, safe, lively etc and also view all the rankings for each of the cities.

Beautiful Streets is a similar 'pairwise survey' from OpenPlans to find out how people perceive different urban environments. The survey presents a series of Street View images of two different streets and asks the user to simply choose which is more beautiful. The pilot project of 200 street pairs in Philadelphia attracted over 100,000 evaluations.

There is a 'download the data' button on Beautiful Streets (although it wasn't working when I tried to have a look at the data). However, if you feel like creating your pairwise survey using Google Maps Street View, the code for the project is available on GitHub.

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