In this project we have begun to explore methods of using a socio-spatial geotag dataset to evaluate how people interact with public space in the city, and to understand what areas draw the most locals and tourists. Observing the distribution of photos taken across Vancouver reveals an “experience map” of the city created by residents and visitors.
Some interesting patterns emerge when analyzing the maps and comparing the “density” of photos taken by locals and by visitors. It is interesting to observe, for example, the commonality of “landmarks” that are well-loved by both tourists and locals alike. We also observe a high density of photos around Robson Square, leading us to question whether there could be a better-defined central public gathering space there.
The collection of such spatial data is growing exponentially. What should we be doing with this information and what does it tell us? As this data becomes available in greater resolutions it will be interesting to see the life of public spaces at a more detailed scale. Where do people sit? What are the patterns of movement? When compared against other spatial data sources and plotted over time other patterns will start to emerge.
Are the patterns identified by locals and tourists consistent with your image of Vancouver? What experiences are visitors to Vancouver missing? What does this information tell you about how Vancouver is used? Through this exploration we hope to raise discussion about the best use of socio-spatial information to help the public, politicians, designers, and planners make better decisions regarding the planning and design of our city.
The base map for these diagrams was created by Eric Fisher (www.flickr.com/ walkingsf) in June 2010 and expressly shared with us for this project. Eric Fisher obtained the geotag information for his base map from open source Flickr and Picasa API data, which spanned 2002 to 2010.
The base maps for city parks, parcels, and shoreline utilizes open data obtained from the City of Vancouver VanMap open data catalogue.
Transit information was obtained from Translink.
Neighbourhood outlines were derived from a combination of sources, including the city’s various Business Improvement Associations (BIAs), the City of Vancouver’s official neighbourhoods map, the Downtown South planning study, and our common knowledge about approximate neighbourhood boundaries.