Thursday, March 23, 2023

Locals vs Tourists 2023

Erica Fisher's Locals & Tourists interactive map, released in 2013, is rightly considered a classic of digital data visualization. His interactive map identifies areas of cities that are popular with tourists and those areas which only seem to be known to locals. The map was made using the locations of Tweets sent by locals (those who post in one city for one consecutive month) and tourists (whose tweets are centered in another city). 

The Locals & Tourists map of Twitter users was inspired by Erica's own 2010 Locals and Tourist maps posted on Flickr. These maps show where (in a number of different global cities) photographs have been submitted to Flickr by tourists and where they have been submitted by tourists, based on how far the user's profile location was from a photo's location.

Now Logan Williams has released a new interactive map called "Locals" and "Tourists" on iNaturalist. This 2023 riff on Erica's methodology uses data from iNaturalist to map out where nature lovers are posting nature photos as tourists and where iNaturalist observations have been posted by locals. On this interactive map the locations of iNaturalist postings are shown as either blue or orange dots. The blues dots show observations made by locals (defined as <= 90 days of local activity). The orange dots show observations made by tourists (> 90 days of local activity).

Like Erica's original maps Logan's map provides a fascinating insight into the areas of our towns and cities which are frequented by tourists and those areas which seem to remain only visited by locals. In the screenshot at the top of this post you can see how in San Francisco, in the Embarcadero and Fisherman's Wharf iNaturalist receives lots of entries from tourists. On the otherhand the trails around Mt. Tamalpais feature observations mainly submitted by locals.

In London we can see that a lot of tourists have submitted photos to iNaturalist from around Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. However not many tourists travel further east and visit Shadwell Basin or Swedenborg Gardens, where all the observations (bar one) appear to have been made by locals. 

You can read more about Logan's Locals and Tourists map on his blog post iNaturalist observations: "locals" and "tourists". This post explains a little more about the inspiration behind the map, some of the limitations of its methodology and how the data was downloaded from iNaturalist.

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