Comparing a city to a human organism is a very common metaphor, but is it? Is it really true that a city lives and breathes?
We think so and we’re processing the data to prove it. We are also partnering with CartoDB to visualize it on the map and make sense of it.
Often we get so caught up in our day that we don’t think about what gives a city life. But millions of unseen processes work behind the scenes to make our daily experiences possible: everything from the traffic we face to the restaurants we choose to how we connect with friends.
Though we may not always realize it, the rhythm of the city strongly influences our behavior: its traffic, sports and entertainment events and weather to name a few. This daily buzz that surrounds us can actually be captured by numbers and data and at HERE we are collecting this data from the billion of devices we are powering.
These numbers can tell interesting stories, which is why we decided to enter into a cartographic experiment with our friends at CartoDB. They provide a sophisticated engine to visualize all of our data and tell the stories of different global cities. Today the result of that experiment is live at http://here.com/livingcities/. There you can see how the cities of London, Chicago, Rome, Helsinki and Mumbai are living and breathing around the clock.
Our collaboration with CartoDB builds on the work we are doing internally: we anonymously collect activity data from all the devices powered by HERE to improve our services and better understand the collective behavior.
How cities can take on a life of their own
By having a look into the life of these cities you can understand when is the best time to leave home for work and identify the areas where people go out at night.
Enterprises can also benefit from these insights. They can recognize where it’s a good idea to start a business or optimize opening hours.
Our experiment with CartoDB also reveals the difference between cities. Apparently, while London wakes up around 5am, Rome gets into business a bit later, at 7:30am, perhaps confirming some stereotypes. But Mumbai beats them all: the city only sleeps between 1am and 3am!
You might expect a relatively small city like Helsinki to call it a night early, but this experiment shows that Chicago gets quiet on the early side too.
“We’re at the beginning stages of seeing what we can do with this kind of data,” says Reno Marioni, director of crowd mapping at HERE. “The map is beautiful canvas to explore these different applications and uses.”
Have a look yourself at http://here.com/livingcities/ and enjoy the pop-up messages that tell you how we collect map data. And you know what’s really fun? You can also click and share these facts on Twitter and Facebook.
Try out http://here.com/livingcities/ now and let us know what you think. We have definitively more of these experiments coming up soon.