Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tracking Journalists with Google Maps

When I first saw the Fake Bear Tracker Map from the Foothills Research Institute I immediately thought that it would be really cool to run my own location data through the application.

I asked the developers if I could 'borrow' their code for my own visualisation and they very kindly agreed.  My thinking was that if I could run a year's worth of my own location data through this Google Maps based application it would reveal some interesting patterns about places that I visit and highlight the parts of my home town that I have yet to explore.

However when I looked to export my Google Latitude data I quickly realised that my check-ins were too sporadic and that I only ever check-in at the same few venues. I then remembered that Cal Flyn, a journalist for The Daily Telegraph, had used Google Maps to map one year of her movements.

Using Freedom of Information laws Cal obtained all the location data held about her by her mobile phone company and created a nice visualisation called Digital surveillance: what my phone records say about me.

Cal Flyn's visualisation is very informative but I think that using the HeatMap layer in the Google Maps API gives a much better overall picture of one year's worth of location data. I therefore created this Journalist Tracker Map that uses the Foothills Research Institute's code to visualise Hal's one year of location data. 

I added a date layer to the map so you can keep track of the date data and get s sense of how long the visualisation has left to run (it runs until 01/09/2012).

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