ETech 09: The Real Time City

Andrea Vaccari, from Senseable City Lab, MIT, late on Wednesday aftenroon at ETech 09.

Massive amounts of data about people and cities are available these days which will help us to see how cities are used.

Once we thought that technology would make cities obsolete — distance working — but we’re seeing the opposite.

New York Talk Exchange. Visualisation to show how New York is connected to places around the world. She shows another visualisation growing/shrinking countries on a world map depending on the amount of telephone traffic between countries. One more: something about how different regions of New York are connected to other parts of the world.

WikiCity. Real Time Rome — Visualiation of activities in the city, cellphones, buses, etc.

A map of cellphone activity in Rome around the World Cup Final.

Obama — One People (Probably launching on Monday). Showing phone activity around the inauguration.

The World’s Eyes — Showing Flickr photos, taken when and where and by who. eg, photos by Britons tagged with “party” in a particular area. Using geotags on Flickr photos to plot peoples’ movements around Spain.

Digital Water Pavilion — Can reconfigure the spaces of the building by switching the water walls on and off, and use the walls as a new medium to display patterns and messages.

Tracing the Visitor’s Eye — With Flickr photos again, tracking where tourists go and what they take photos of. See what things interest tourists, something we could never have done before.

PlaceRank Is this the correct URL? — When you move while on the phone your call is moved from one cell to another. They analysed this data [in some unspecified way] to determine which locations are more popular, analagous to Google PageRank.

Raster Cities — Looking at 3D buildings. Shadow casting, seeing where their shadows are. How tall can a building be to enable a minimum amount of light. How much can be seen from a building.

MIT Enernet [?] — Seeing how people fill the space of a building at different times of the day.

CurrentCity — Amsterdam. To help police monitor emergencies and major events by analysing cellphone activity. You can get a baseline of normal activity across the city and then unusual events stand out.

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