Visualizing Flickr: Web 2.0 as “The World’s Eyes”

When uploading to Flickr, users set tags, locations and other data– upon which an enterprising group of MIT researchers have built a project called “The World’s Eyes”.  Now exhibited in the Design Museum in Barcelona, “Los Ojos Del Mundo” tracks photographers both local and tourist throughout their photographic adventures in Spain.  As described by MIT’s SENSEable City Lab:

When posting photos online, users of the photo sharing platform Flickr transmit to the world their perspective of a place or event through the lens of a digital camera. Each digital photo file codes both the time when that photo was taken and the location it captures. Analyzing this information allows us to follow the trail that each Flickr photographer travels through Spain. (Un)photographed Spain maps thousands of these public, digital footprints over one year. As photos overlap in certain locations, they expose the places that attract the photographer’s gaze . In contrast, the absence of images in other locations reveal the unphotographed spaces of a more introverted Spain.

The result is a visually stunning display of the collective photographers’ view of Spain.  Where and when do these photographs take place?  What objects and locations are the most photogenic?  We salute the work of MIT’s SENSEable CITY, as the art captured by Flickr photographers has been visualized into collective art from 30,000 feet.  [MIT via datavisualization.ch]

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