Thursday, 24 June 2010

Wish you were here?

One for the Strange Maps website. (An excellent site, by the way.) Is this scary or fascinating? Eric Fisher took data from Flickr (either stated by the photographer or via the camera's or phone's GPS data in the file) to map who was taking photos in many cities round the world. Photographing in the same place for more than a month suggested a local (blue), photographing somewhere for less than a month suggested a tourist/visitor (red) and the occasional photographer (or rather uploader) was left as undetermined (yellow). Lines join where people took photos within a short time in two different spots.

It is curious, but at the same time makes me think – once again – there is too much information around. I've never uploaded to Flickr and rarely look there. To me it's another information-overkill site, one which you can look into should you be seeking some information, but otherwise, on a regular basis, somewhere to steer clear of.

My curiosity is piqued by the maps, but my comfort disturbed by the continued accumulation of information as though it reveals more and more about us. I don't mean the information of the maps themselves, just the fact that the cameras are storing more information and that our own uploading constantly piles up the information. (Like on this and most blogs.)

By the way, an aside: a friend tells me that there is now a tour company in Japan which organises bus tours to places which, at certain spots, adds points to your mobile phone in a kind of collectors' game. He reports that a TV programme showed people on the bus checking their mobiles for the points accumulated with barely a look at the place they'd visited. A different kind of tourist map, and another very strange prioritising of information over knowledge.

Covered in various places, but spotted via mestudio

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