Mapping Cities Using Smartphone Motion Sensors

/ 3 years ago

Screenshot 2014-07-03 08.59.49

Any decent smartphone has a motion sensor built into it, these are great for improving fitness applications, games, or your navigation apps as it lets the phone calculate if you’re walking, running, driving or even riding a bike. These sensors can work out speed, distance, direction and more to help them calculate your movements and provide you with all kinds of useful information, but what about using the data to create maps?

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In a trick that reminds me of the sonar mapping technique in the recent Batman films,  that is essentially what The Human App has been doing. By taking a blank canvas and drawing white pixels on it as humans move around their city you can quickly see each major road, side street and more being routed out with incredible detail.

The map below shows you all the motorized transit in New York.

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Whilst this one show you peoples walking routes around San Francisco.


It’s amazing to see the data visualised as a time lapse and while this just puts on a pretty show, the data is a great way to view what areas are suffering heavy traffic from different types of transit. Obviously it lacks all the finer details we find on things like Google maps, so I doubt we’ll be using these for navigation any time soon, but as a concept the maps are still pretty cool and there are loads more of them you can check out as well as an app you can download to add your own data to the system here.

Thank you Buzzfeed for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Buzzfeed.

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