Data collected by citizens and posted publicly can create a portrait of a city. This graphic, part of a larger multiuniversity collaboration called Phototrails, shows Instagram photos from Brooklyn, New York, during Hurricane Sandy. The designers arranged the snapshots by time, with the 24-hour period during which the storm made landfall running along the arc. Lighter images appear toward the center. A flurry of photos—noticeably darker than those that came before—appear just below center as the borough lost power.
This article was originally published in the November 2014 issue of Popular Science, under the title, “Dawn of the Data Age.”