The Google Heat Map of Global Touristiness
May 17, 2012 at 5:20 PM
The standard recipe for a Google Maps mashup is fairly straight-forward. You find a list of where things are, you code the locations appropriately, and then you put everything on a map. Even though the process is a little bit paint-by-numbers, it can still lead to some very interesting and even mildly addictive results. The Google Incident Maps mashup is one of the better examples in that regard, and the much older Celebrity Houses mashup is an even more basic template.
But if you mix in just a little more programming magicand you get really creative about what how you grab and package the data - you can do some pretty fascinating stuff. The developers at the Estonian design firm Bluemoon built a script to scrape Panoramio, which is a photo sharing site, and to extract all of the geo-locations from the uploaded photos. Then they created a heatmap based on where photos were taken. The result is this mashup, which according to the project homepage is a global map color-coded "by level of touristiness."
TNooz folks pointed out, touristiness isn't really a word. But as they also pointed out, you instantly know what it means as soon as your read it. So a global map of touristiness, built using Google's open platform with photos shared by individuals. The things we can do, huh?
Obviously most of the photos are going to cluster around urban areas. That's where most of the tourist attractions, airports, and hotels live. So to untangle the data, the Bluemoon people also built a second mashup for remote places away from the cities. The Greek islands are awash with tourists, apparently. The interior of Australia? Not so much.
[Photo: Worlds most and least touristy places by www.bluemoon.ee / Google Maps]