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

    How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

    American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

  2. Homes in Amsterdam are pictured.
    Equity

    Amsterdam's Plan: If You Buy a Newly Built House, You Can't Rent It Out

    In an effort to make housing more affordable, the Dutch capital is crafting a law that says anyone who buys a newly built home must live in it themselves.

  3. Transportation

    China's 50-Lane Traffic Jam Is Every Commuter's Worst Nightmare

    What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.

  4. Design

    Cities Deserve Better Than These Thomas Heatherwick Gimmicks

    The “Vessel” at New York’s Hudson Yards—like so many of his designs—look as if the dystopian world of 1984 has been given a precious makeover.

  5. Equity

    Why Can’t We Close the Racial Wealth Gap?

    A new study says that income inequality, not historic factors, feeds the present-day gulf in wealth between white and black households.