I will not be just a tourist in the world of images...
August 3, 2010 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Locals vs. Tourists: Eric Fischer maps Flickr pictures taken by city locals (in blue) against those taken by tourists (in red).
posted by karminai (40 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Previous Eric Fischer maps.
posted by enn at 11:25 AM on August 3, 2010

This is way cool. I love how Chicago doesn't even exist to tourists outside the Loop, save for the big, glowing dot of Wrigley.
posted by phunniemee at 11:29 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

The was pretty cool. I was going to say looks like both locals and tourists like maps! but then I figured out what was going on. Also, see pizza cat.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:29 AM on August 3, 2010

As I see it, it probably really is good for the soul to be a tourist, even if it’s only once in a while. Not good for the soul in a refreshing or enlivening way, though, but rather in a grim, steely-eyed, let’s-look-honestly-at-the-facts-and-find-some-way-to-deal-with-them way. My personal experience has not been that traveling around the country is broadening or relaxing, or that radical changes in place and context have a salutary effect, but rather that intranational tourism is radically constricting, and humbling in the hardest way—hostile to my fantasy of being a real individual, of living somehow outside and above it all. (Coming up is the part that my companions find especially unhappy and repellent, a sure way to spoil the fun of vacation travel:) To be a mass tourist, for me, is to become a pure late-date American: alien, ignorant, greedy for something you cannot ever have, disappointed in a way you can never admit. It is to spoil, by way of sheer ontology, the very unspoiledness you are there to experience. It is to impose yourself on places that in all noneconomic ways would be better, realer, without you. It is, in lines and gridlock and transaction after transaction, to confront a dimension of yourself that is as inescapable as it is painful: As a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing.

-- David Foster Wallace, "Consider the Lobster"
posted by swift at 11:37 AM on August 3, 2010 [12 favorites]

This is one of the best things ever.
posted by empath at 11:40 AM on August 3, 2010

There's a lot to look at here - different levels of tourist/local segregation (look at Washington DC, for example, compared to Madrid), different tourist/local ratios (I guess nobody who lives in Florence owns a camera), the tendency of locals to photograph entire commercial strips while tourists focus on particular points of interest. Great link.
posted by theodolite at 11:41 AM on August 3, 2010

He who travels to be amused, or to get somewhat which he does not carry, travels away from himself, and grows old even in youth among old things. In Thebes, in Palmyra, his will and mind have become old and dilapidated as they. He carries ruins to ruins.

Travelling is a fool's paradise.

Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
posted by empath at 11:43 AM on August 3, 2010

San Jose has tourists?
Also, neat.
posted by rocket88 at 11:44 AM on August 3, 2010

Interesting that where there are almost no tourists, there are almost no locals either. I'm guessing that, say, Oklahoma City is neither a tourist mecca nor a particularly tech-savvy area. But I'd also guess that there are a couple of places, particularly like Kyoto, Tokyo, etc., where tourists and locals alike simply use sites other than flickr.
posted by valkyryn at 11:44 AM on August 3, 2010

The main page for the set has more info:
Some people interpreted the Geotaggers' World Atlas maps to be maps of tourism. This set is an attempt to figure out if that is really true. Some cities (for example Las Vegas and Venice) do seem to be photographed almost entirely by tourists. Others seem to have many pictures taken in piaces that tourists don't visit.

Blue points on the map are pictures taken by locals (people who have taken pictures in this city dated over a range of a month or more).
And yellow are unknown entities, probably tourists who didn't post many pictures.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:49 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

A lot of the interesting things in Copenhagen is in the blue "fingers" that stretch outwards from the inner center and which tourists seldom go to. And food is way cheaper outside the red area.
posted by flif at 11:59 AM on August 3, 2010

Cool post. Lots of interesting applications.
posted by onecopywriter at 12:00 PM on August 3, 2010

What would be cool is if you could click on those blue bits and see what the locals find so interesting.
posted by Runes at 12:01 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Argle, why are tourists going to the Trafford Centre? that's upsetting on very many levels, although I was heartened to see Salford isn't as neglected as you'd think. Round the university isn't obviously tourists though. Must get my Mancunia photos up on flickr and skew this thing a bit more towards 'places found on album covers' and 'places mentioned in songs I like'.
posted by shinybaum at 12:03 PM on August 3, 2010

Looks like only the locals are hitting up H St in DC, which make sense, since there is no metro.
posted by empath at 12:03 PM on August 3, 2010

The Orlando one just proves what I always suspected. There are no locals there.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:20 PM on August 3, 2010

see what the locals find so interesting

Probably people standing in front of boring backgrounds, if my non-tourist photos from around town are any indications.
posted by smackfu at 12:21 PM on August 3, 2010

and san francisco nearly perfectly bisected by mission street...
posted by supermedusa at 12:21 PM on August 3, 2010

My personal experience has not been that traveling around the country is broadening or relaxing, or that radical changes in place and context have a salutary effect, but rather that intranational tourism is radically constricting, and humbling in the hardest way—hostile to my fantasy of being a real individual, of living somehow outside and above it all.

Giving up that fantasy - or not indulging in it in the first place - is an easy way to not feel like that. I've had a lot of fun and seen a ton of fascinating things traveling both in my own country and abroad. I'm glad that I don't need to be "outside and above it all" to feel like a "real" individual.
posted by rtha at 12:22 PM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]

I was trying to figure out what the all blue blob was in the LA map until I realized it's my own alma mater. Duh. Makes sense that the locals would be photographing there...
posted by widdershins at 12:24 PM on August 3, 2010

Seattle, when I went there, seemed to be nicer the further I got from touristy spots. Fremont and Ballard especially.
posted by hellojed at 12:26 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

At least in touristy places there isn't an inherent embarrassment regarding taking touristy photos.

The Golden Gate Bridge's mix of tourism and ambiguous photos I thought was notable.
posted by paroxysm at 12:46 PM on August 3, 2010

Where is this data coming from? I picked a random spot in Austin (Rogge Ln & Springdale Rd) and Flickr only generates one photo hit within one mile, whereas this tourist project shows about 20 hits within that same radius. And who is geotagging 110 million pictures? That's awesome but I was under the impression you needed an expensive GPS-enabled camera (heck, my $250 Pentax I bought in 2006 doesn't do this) or an intricate interest in geotagging all your images (which a lot of people are too lazy to bother with). Perhaps cell phone cameras are putting location data in the EXIF block these days?
posted by crapmatic at 12:48 PM on August 3, 2010

and san francisco nearly perfectly bisected by mission street...

I think it's not so much that locals don't photograph the same places as tourists do, so much as they get drowned out by the higher volume of tourists photos in those places. If you zoom in to the original size, there are some blue dots underneath all that red.

Fremont and Ballard especially.

Some seattle residents would disagree about Fremont being anything but a tourist trap these days.
posted by nomisxid at 12:52 PM on August 3, 2010

San Jose has tourists?

One of the first things I noticed was -- not too many, no. Rome is the inverse. Almost no "local" blue in discernible in the city center at all. It is cool that people are using info available on the internet to put together maps that display data in this way. They remind me at a glance of Dr. John Snow's map of cholera cases, which Tufte claims is the first data map.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:12 PM on August 3, 2010

The map of New Orleans offered no surprises, what with the giant red clusterbomb of French Quarter photos.
posted by komara at 1:33 PM on August 3, 2010

I enjoy how small tourist clusters, like the Wimbledon tennis courts, are visible on the London map.

Also, if I read the Toronto map correctly, Eglinton is as big a corridor for locals as Bloor. A lot of people seem to take photos around what I take to be Avenue Road and Eglinton? That makes no sense to me.
posted by generichuman at 1:50 PM on August 3, 2010

The Buffalo one would be more interesting if the map extended up to the Falls instead of stopping in Kenmore or North Tonawanda. This huge pulsating red beacon by the falls, and not too far away sad little B'lo with its blue sparseness.

(whaddaya bet that the few red ones there are Leafs fans there for a game?)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:15 PM on August 3, 2010

OK, I'm gonna call the Sydney one as very, very strange, and most likely caused by some kind of special event/s during the time the pictures were sampled.

Cockatoo Island is heavily photographed by locals, but normally nobody goes there, so I'm guessing the photos were from the All Tomorrow's Parties festival last year.

The lines along Anzac Pde & Alison Rd would point to a running event, like a half marathon.

But the strangest one of all is the massive blue line from what appears to be the corner of Erskineville Rd & Mitchell Rd in Alexandria, which passes through a shitty light industrial area - not the kind of place people would normally take photos, unless either:

- there was some kind of massive parade, possibly associated with the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras (considering the start point)?

- some kind of camera testing by the people at the Technology Park in Eveleigh?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:16 PM on August 3, 2010

I'm kind of surprised to see a big blob of tourists near Ninth and Passyunk (where Pat's and Geno's cheese steaks are) in Philadelphia. Seriously, people take pictures of that?
posted by madcaptenor at 3:12 PM on August 3, 2010

The only things I know about Philly are hiphop and cheese steaks, so that's what I would take photos of. Because you can't take a photo of 'a character in the Wire went there once'.
posted by shinybaum at 3:47 PM on August 3, 2010

shinybaum, you'd have a big problem taking those pictures in Philly, because The Wire takes place in Baltimore.
posted by madcaptenor at 4:21 PM on August 3, 2010

Heh, I meant a character from Baltimore went to Philly once - WeeBay I think. D'Angelo drove him. I was trying to say I know naff all about Philadelphia.
posted by shinybaum at 4:33 PM on August 3, 2010

[Miracle ROU]
No, The Wire mostly takes place in Baltimore. And mostly in Baltimore is a little bit somewhere else!
[/miracle ROU]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:33 PM on August 3, 2010

I'll admit I've never watched The Wire. And when I lived in Philly I lived on Baltimore Avenue - does that count for anything?
posted by madcaptenor at 5:03 PM on August 3, 2010

Interesting to see that even most local photos in Vegas are around the Strip. Either most locals are new to the place (in keeping with the transient feel of Vegas) or it's just too damn hot to go out and take a pic of anything else.
posted by Cheminatrix at 5:26 PM on August 3, 2010

That's brilliant. A new essential travel research tool!
posted by DanCall at 1:19 AM on August 4, 2010

There's a cluster of red on the San Francisco map that was puzzling me: Too far west to be City Hall, too far south to be any of the churches at the top of Geary Street, and too far east to be the Haight. What the hell could all these tourists be doing near Fell and Divisadero?

Then it hit me: Alamo Square. Full House. My god.

On the other side of the bay, us Oaklanders seems to like taking pictures at the Taco Bell near West Grand and Telegraph and at the parking lot of the sewage plant (seriously).
posted by clorox at 3:21 AM on August 4, 2010

Also: Why aren't these in PNG format?
posted by clorox at 3:22 AM on August 4, 2010

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