Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How to Get a Date in the Age of Big Data Churnalism

Animated heat maps seem to be one of the big mapping trends of the moment. Hardly a day goes by without another (normally sports related) CartoDB Torque visualization of Twitter data. It is a bit of a shame that the powerful Torque library is being used a lot in big data churnalism rather than in more serious and well thought out mapped visualizations. Hopefully these viral sports maps will help promote the Torque library and better maps will eventually emerge.

The other big use of heat maps at the moment seems to be coming from popular smart phone apps. For example Strava Labs have been very effective in promoting the Strava app through the use of engaging mapped visualizations of their sports tracking data.

Dating app Twoo is the latest company to get in on the animated heat mapping craze. The Twoo Heatmap shows where and when Twoo users are most effective in meeting new people in three cities - London, Brussels and Paris. The map animates through a week of Twoo data, highlighting areas on the map where (and when) people are connecting the most.

We would have to know a lot more about the data being used and how representative Twoo users are of the general population before we could make any real judgment about how accurate the map is as a guide to finding the best times and places to find a date.

Luckily for Twoo in this era of big data churnalism newspapers don't really care about accuracy and therefore the Twoo Heatmap has already been picked up by a number of newspapers who are publishing the maps as a handy guide to getting a date. That's great news for Twoo.

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