FourSquare

In six global cities.

For years, the location-tracking app FourSquare has been amassing an enviable well of data on how people spend their time, where they go, and what these patterns reveal about their commuting and entertaining behaviors. If you're on one end of the app, checking in on your smart phone at a neighborhood dive bar, the tool is a handy way to broadcast your whereabouts to your friends. From the other end – from FourSquare's point of view – each logged location contributes to a much larger picture of the life of whole business districts and cities.

Today, FourSquare is releasing a series of timelapse videos spanning a year's worth of data in six cities where the app is particularly popular. Each video covers an aggregated 24-hour period in the life of each city (when you're looking at 4 p.m. in Chicago, for instance, the picture reflects activity in the city at 4 p.m. across an entire year).

The check-ins are color-coded: red for residences, green for food, blue for nightlife, teal for travel and transport, etc. As a result, you can watch what FourSquare is calling the "pulse" of each city, the rhythms and geography of people waking up, traveling to work, going out at night, and returning home.

As always, bear in mind that these patterns represent a self-selecting group of people (those who own smart phones, who have downloaded FourSquare, and who actually use it on a regular basis), and not the movement of each city's entire population. That bias is particularly evident in San Francisco. Still, the videos are pretty bewitching.

Chicago:


Foursquare check-ins show the pulse of Chicago from Foursquare on Vimeo.

Istanbul:


Foursquare check-ins show the pulse of Istanbul from Foursquare on Vimeo.

London:


Foursquare check-ins show the pulse of London from Foursquare on Vimeo.

New York City:


Foursquare check-ins show the pulse of New York City from Foursquare on Vimeo.

San Francisco:


Foursquare check-ins show the pulse of San Francisco from Foursquare on Vimeo.

Tokyo:


Foursquare check-ins show the pulse of Tokyo from Foursquare on Vimeo.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    Berlin Builds an Arsenal of Ideas to Stage a Housing Revolution

    The proposals might seem radical—from banning huge corporate landlords to freezing rents for five years—but polls show the public is ready for something dramatic.

  2. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  3. Maps

    Mapping the Growing Gap Between Job Seekers and Employers

    Mapping job openings with available employees in major U.S. cities reveals a striking spatial mismatch, according to a new Urban Institute report.

  4. A photo of a design maquette for the Obama Presidential Center planned for Jackson Park and designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
    Design

    Why the Case Against the Obama Presidential Center Is So Important

    A judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought by Chicago preservationists can proceed, dealing a blow to Barack Obama's plans to build his library in Jackson Park.

  5. a map of the Mayan Train route in Mexico
    Environment

    Mexico’s ‘Mayan Train’ Is Bound for Controversy

    President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s signature rail project would link cities and tourist sites in the Yucatan with rural areas and rainforests.