Mapping my first three weeks in NYC


Map tiles by Stamen Design, under CC BY 3.0. Data by OpenStreetMap, under CC BY SA.

Playing around with CartoDB has been on my agenda for a while already. The same applies for the API of the Moves app that I have been using since it has been released. Moves constantly tracks where you are going and makes fairly accurate assessments about the means of transportations you use (walk, bike, and transport). So I thought downloading my moves for the time since I have arrived in NYC and visualizing them in CartoDB might be a fun thing to do.

I had to fiddle a bit with the authentication until I could finally download JSON files that contain all of my activities for the past 3 weeks, one per day. Since Moves uses a custom JSON format, I had to write a small script that transforms these files into GeoJSON, which can be directly uploaded to CartoDB.

In the visualizations, the bubbles show stations where I have spent some time, with bigger bubbles meaning more time spent there. The biggest three are on the Upper East Side, showing Hunter College, in Astoria, and in Bronxville (thanks to my two colleagues who let me crash at their places). The lines in between show movement, orange for any kind of transport (usually subway in my case), and green for walking. Some of the transport lines are oddly straight. In most cases, this happens on the subway, where the app cannot locate the device and thus assumes a straight line between the entrance and the exit. The straight line from JFK airport in the southeast to Astoria (for which I took a cab) was caused by the fact that my battery died, if I remember correctly. Zooming in closely on one of the walking tracks shows that Moves is pretty accurate. If you live in any of these areas, you can probably tell where I had lunch or a coffee at some point during the last 3 weeks.

View the map in its full-screen glory over here.

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