Recently, Foursquare visualized where the last 500,000,000 check-ins took place in the last three months. The global map highlights where most of the activity happened, and the user can zoom in on a certain location, or filter by cities.
The incredible visual almost resembles NASA’s satellite image of the world at night. The major cities and large neighborhoods are the “brightest” on the map as they usually include more places to check-in, including restaurants, landmarks, tourist spots, and outdoor recreation venues.
Foursquare posted on its blog last week, explaining the project:
Everyday, millions of people around the world open up our app to discover amazing places around them. They check in at new restaurants that are opening up in their neighborhoods, their favorite dive bars for happy hour, and cozy local bookstores that are still going strong. With every check-in, people are recording all the places they love to go. Plotted out as half a billion points on a map, they start to look pretty amazing.
Things get pretty interesting when you start zooming in and exploring your local neighborhoods. You can start to see which streets have the most check-ins, and it gives an accurate depiction of the city’s most popular spots and attractions.
TechCrunch recently interviewed Blake Shaw, a data scientist at Foursquare, and asked him what all this data means and what the company’s goals are in 2013:
We’re starting to realize that people want tools to find the best places, no matter where they are, a familiar city or not. We’re building more tools to achieve just that. We’re also starting to fully leverage our data and aggregate signals to make a more quality signal and experience for users. We’re looking at things like: How often do people come back to a place? What type of people like to come to a place? As we’ve grown, users expect a lot more, people really want mobile tools that really fit into their lives. People aren’t sitting at their desk trying to access information, they’re on their mobile device in the real world.
Last year November, Foursquare counted its 3 billionth check-in, and continues to grow with no signs of slowing down. Take a look at the interactive map and start exploring here.