Mapping a whole darn year
In the past I have mentioned here an ongoing project to trace my every movement on a map, using memory and mouse-clicking rather than technology that costs money. Well, the advent of 2010 marks a full calendar year of doing this and a good moment to show some results.
Obviously this is not a novel concept (to choose a single example, I must link to UrbanTick here), and nobody besides me cares about the particulars of my travels. Shut up, it’s fun anyway. There are two reasons why this originally sounded interesting. First, I work from home, and there is very little routine in my trips out of the house, both in timing and destination. Rather than a predictable daily grind, I could hope for a an unknown awesome-looking pattern. Second, I keep the tracks separated by mode of transportation (foot, car, train, bus, and bike so far). A portrait of urban mobility or some such. As I bonus I will add that for a urban geography and cartography nerd, this project works as motivation to get out and explore different parts of town. There are witnesses to my excitement over being able to add a new line to the map.
Anyway, below is a little Flash animation of daily travels, with some transparency to highlight hot spots. I gave up on trying to do this beyond the immediate local area (Cambridge, Massachusetts)*, so there are some noticeable pauses where I disappeared for weeks on various out-of-town trips.
Goals for 2010:
- Cover more ground! I still haven’t made it to half of Cambridge, and there is a lot of neighboring Boston and Somerville to explore.
- Use a bicycle more than four times in a year. It is perhaps the best way to get around town and shouldn’t be collecting dust.
- Collect more data, such as distance, for summary statistics. This may require more sophisticated techniques than simply drawing lines, though, which would conflict with my New Year’s resolution to be more technologically lazy.
* Sorry for making this an increasingly Boston-centric blog, but hey, for your own projects you start with what’s outside your front door too, right? Not that I actually have a front door.