Skip

I Know Where Your Cat Lives
July 22, 2014 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Only 15 million, riiiight. A data experiment out of Florida State University maps the location of 1 million of the 15 million publicly available online images tagged with the word "cat." Using a supercomputer and the map coordinates imbedded in their metadata, I Know Where Your Cat Lives shows where each image was taken, to within an estimated 7.8 meters accuracy.

[Insert cyberstalking pun here]
posted by gottabefunky (72 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
maps and cats. maps of cats. omg, this post was created for me.
posted by desjardins at 12:26 PM on July 22 [7 favorites]


Luckily for me I'm not a cat.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:27 PM on July 22


The supercomputer said you were.
posted by escabeche at 12:36 PM on July 22 [5 favorites]


If there are map co-ordinates in the metadata I don't know why it took a supercomputer.
posted by Segundus at 12:37 PM on July 22 [11 favorites]


This is absurd. At least some of these are from the cats' workplace or holiday destination.
posted by Mchelly at 12:39 PM on July 22 [35 favorites]


This doesn't actually seem to work very well. The random cat button took me to Seattle. I zoomed out and centered it over Chicago and got nothing. I guess you can only do the random thing, not browse cats in a specific area?
posted by desjardins at 12:39 PM on July 22


Yeah I got no cats in my area. I'm not sure if that makes me glad to know they're not tracking my beautifully adorable wonderful 19 year old kitty, or sad that they aren't tracking my beautifully adorable wonderful 19 year old kitty.
posted by symbioid at 12:41 PM on July 22 [4 favorites]


I just clicked on it and got a picture of an elephant, so this may not do precisely what it claims to.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:41 PM on July 22 [12 favorites]


If there are map co-ordinates in the metadata I don't know why it took a supercomputer.


I think you will find that most things in life, like static screens of DNA helices, require supercomputers. Maybe even thinkin' machines. Don't know why cats would be any different.
posted by phunniemee at 12:43 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


If there are map co-ordinates in the metadata I don't know why it took a supercomputer.

You need a supercomputer because a regular computer would get distracted looking at the pictures of cats and never get to the mapping.
posted by maryr at 12:44 PM on July 22 [40 favorites]


Southern Oregon is cat-free. Which surprises me, but ok. Internet knows more than I do.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 12:44 PM on July 22


There is a huge chunk of the northern US and southern Canada without cats?

Sneaky bastards.
posted by ITravelMontana at 12:45 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


...to within an estimated 7.8 meters accuracy.

Actually, the mapping is accurate to within millimeters, but the cats monstrously oversized.
posted by Thing at 12:46 PM on July 22 [7 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos, are you sure it wasn't this cat?
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:46 PM on July 22 [12 favorites]


On the internet, everyone hopes you're a cat.
posted by Pudhoho at 12:55 PM on July 22 [5 favorites]


Was it this elephant? I ask because a "random cat" just landed me this German kangaroo nearby.
posted by maryr at 12:55 PM on July 22


Warning that clicking Greg_Ace's link has me swinging wildly between finding it cute and succumbing to total madness.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:56 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


The site isn't really working for me, but I believe the elephant was here.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:57 PM on July 22


Site's buckling under all the random cat searches, methinks.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 12:59 PM on July 22


I looked at this site earlier and there were cats EVERYWHERE. The nearest to my office was literally across the road.

Looking at the site now, I'm not seeing any cats nearby (earlier it was thousands), so I think the site is getting overloaded and conking out...presumably by other cats feverishly looking at other cats.

Try again later / tomorrow and your cat-searching will be satisfactory - or at least not such a catastrophe.
posted by sektah at 1:00 PM on July 22


lol
posted by Sys Rq at 1:00 PM on July 22


I clicked on random cat and got a woman in a Hello Kitty hoody who lives in Australia.
posted by Ostara at 1:02 PM on July 22


Wow, the cats got their countermeasures in place pretty quick.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:02 PM on July 22 [9 favorites]


Yup bee followed up by the website "I Know What Your Cat Did Last Summer"

(OK, "Mostly it slept." Still.
posted by happyroach at 1:17 PM on July 22 [5 favorites]


Hey, I can see my cat from here!
posted by ssmug at 1:18 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


I wanted to find my old cat but apparently there has been some sort of outbreak in Seattle and all the cats have fled.
posted by kittensofthenight at 1:27 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


I looked at this site earlier and there were cats EVERYWHERE ... Looking at the site now, I'm not seeing any cats nearby

oh god it's starting
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:29 PM on July 22


This website is making me really emotional. It really is like unhealthy cyber-stalking for people that left cats with exes. I LOVE YOU MARLENE

I think I just need cat based Tinder.
posted by kittensofthenight at 1:29 PM on July 22 [7 favorites]


And you shall know us by the tail of our cat
posted by fallingbadgers at 1:35 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


"The photos were then run through various clustering algorithms using a supercomputer at Florida State University in order to represent the enormity of the data source."

enormity
ɪˈnɔːmɪti
noun
1.
the great or extreme scale, seriousness, or extent of something perceived as bad or morally wrong.

Well, I guess that means Google Images at least has officially dropped "Don't Be Evil"
posted by Omission at 1:47 PM on July 22


You need a supercomputer because a regular computer would get distracted looking at the pictures of cats and never get to the mapping.

I don't know about that, last time they let a supercomputer loose on many millions of images all it did was figure out what a cat looks like.
posted by effbot at 1:52 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


I am wondering if Snowden knew they were tracking cats. This is big. If they know where your cat is, they know where your heart is.
posted by 724A at 1:55 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]


My cat insists I tag all of his photos with "cushionmaster", so he won't show up in searches.
posted by orme at 1:55 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]


Apparently there are no cats in my town. This is news to Chaplin.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:56 PM on July 22


Site's buckling under all the random cat searches, methinks.

Because cat sightings are so rare...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 2:01 PM on July 22


A data experiment out of Florida State University

... funded by a mysterious donor, known only as Mr. K. Nein.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:02 PM on July 22 [6 favorites]


I want to be able to put my address in, so I can see what cats live near me, so I can wander by and maybe say "hello!"

:-(
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 2:13 PM on July 22


maps and cats. maps of cats. omg, this post was created for me.

There is this story
posted by iotic at 2:16 PM on July 22


that feeling you get when you click on a photo of a cat who is not your cat, but who looks identical to your cat in every way
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:17 PM on July 22 [7 favorites]


That story makes me want to hit Feynman. But then, that's not necessarily a new fact.
posted by maryr at 2:23 PM on July 22


Seeing the flyers of missing cattas makes me sad.

But the West Hollywood cat it showed me was just a bunch of drunk people in a bar -- no cats! Grrrr!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 2:46 PM on July 22


It took awhile but I can confidently affirm they have no idea where our cats live.
posted by bearwife at 3:33 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


This site is broken... works well around the Bay Area or Seattle, but try moving somewhere else in the country and it just decides to stop loading data. Needs some QA.
posted by crapmatic at 3:48 PM on July 22


click for single cats near you
posted by thug unicorn at 4:00 PM on July 22 [4 favorites]


Seems like it was only yesterday when Google Street View Invaded Cat's Privacy
posted by four panels at 4:03 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


I clicked on random and got a Caterpillar bulldozer, precisely mapped.
posted by beagle at 4:15 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


There must be someone in/near my building that has a calico because there are a lot of photos of that beautiful calico but none of the cats we've had here.

I think the issue is that most of the cat pictures I post either don't have geotagging or don't have "cat" tagged.

FWIW scrolling around and looking for cats is working for me. It's just that 15 million isn't that much for the whole world.
posted by mountmccabe at 4:27 PM on July 22


I appreciate your interest, but it's okay. I know where my cat lives too.
posted by Decani at 4:38 PM on July 22


Yeah, it does seem to be working a bit better.

But not purr-fectly.







(sorry)
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:39 PM on July 22


Worth it for this, in my neighborhood. http://distilleryimage8.s3.amazonaws.com/9f5bee70b53311e39e3f120abdccd260_8.jpg
posted by Nothing at 4:57 PM on July 22


I swear Japanese cats are inherently happier.
posted by desjardins at 5:12 PM on July 22


FSU has (had?) a "supercomputer", one of the old Connection Machines. I recall hearing it used to play Tetris on the panel blinkenlights and as a centerpiece for a faculty member's daughter's birthday party.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:39 PM on July 22


I keep getting "The privacy options of this photo have been changed" photos when I click on Random. I guess people figured out that their cat photos have been linked to something that causes a huge number of people to view them.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 5:42 PM on July 22


This does, indeed, know where my cat lives.
posted by ztdavis at 5:47 PM on July 22


Worth it for this, in my neighborhood. http://distilleryimage8.s3.amazonaws.com/9f5bee70b53311e39e3f120abdccd260_8.jpg
posted by Nothing at 4:57 PM on July 22 [+] [!]


I hate to say it, Nothing, but I see -- nothing! D:
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 5:55 PM on July 22


I guess I'll try it again. When I tried it earlier and zoomed in to San Francisco, it said there were no cats, which is unpossible.
posted by rtha at 6:12 PM on July 22


I got a hot italian man. I'm kind of disappointed so i'm going to cuddle my real life cat.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 6:13 PM on July 22


Good lord this is addictive.
posted by desjardins at 6:29 PM on July 22


When I tried it earlier and zoomed in to San Francisco, it said there were no cats, which is unpossible.

Cats are expert at optimizing their privacy settings.
posted by Pudhoho at 6:30 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


This is one of the strangest sites I have seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their cats . . . Never mind.
posted by spitbull at 6:42 PM on July 22


Instead of a hot Italian man I got a 404 gif of a cat stuck in someone's slipper!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:48 PM on July 22


Ha ha ha ha ha, they will never uncover my secret cats! Until they start running metadata searches on such terms as "Fluffy Teethstab", "Scrowly McScrowlington", "Hashtag Fluffyboots", "Stinkbum", and "Retard".
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:48 PM on July 22


I looked at the last few places I've lived and there are no pictures of my cats, despite the fact that there are public geotagged pictures of them on Flickr. I wonder if it's only scraping a certain date range?
posted by desjardins at 7:39 PM on July 22


I zoomed in on my home town, started clicking on pictures, and was unsettled to find that in more than a few instances I KNOW THAT CAT.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 7:55 PM on July 22


Well, I found one of my cats! I guess this thing works!
posted by rtha at 8:40 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]


I swear Japanese cats are inherently happier.

It kind of worries me that the bunch of happy Japanese cats seem to be located in the middle of the Hankyu-Kobe train tracks.
posted by happyroach at 9:47 PM on July 22


This is awesome because I live near a zoo, so when I zoom in on my neighborhood, I get LIONS and CHEETAHS and TIGERS and PANTHERS and it is awesome.
posted by Stacey at 9:08 AM on July 23 [2 favorites]


I was clearly wrong about the supercomputers, they don't seem to be totally on task either. So many non-cats!
posted by maryr at 9:42 AM on July 23


I went to my current town, and sure enough, there were photos of two of my cats there, which I had posted to Instagram. One of the photos includes my husband snoozing with my fat orange boycat in the crook of his arm.
posted by PussKillian at 12:07 PM on July 23


Ah, local bookstore cat!
posted by epersonae at 1:39 PM on July 23


I found mine, from a public flickr photo taken at our old apartment.
posted by sfred at 6:10 PM on July 23


Hmm. My cat has tons of online exposure, and yet is nowhere to be seen.
Suspicious.
posted by Superplin at 11:54 PM on July 23


« Older Mexican DREAMers - Life after return   |   The Judgment of Paris (and a... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post