heat map of city activity in Berlin
Food, music, shopping, and night life spots pop in this map of Berlin. [Read more]. Courtesy Moritz Stefaner

In a project he calls Stadtbilder—which translates to “city images”—Moritz Stefaner mapped the collective life of a city’s inhabitants, rather than its buildings or land. The underlying data is a popularity index of public places based on social media check-in services, such as Foursquare. Using diagonal lines, Stefaner overlaps four categories of places—music, shopping, nightlife, and food—to show not just the city’s shape, but its culture, revealing clubs throughout the city’s center with a cluster of music venues in the east, along the river.

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This article was originally published in the November 2014 issue of Popular Science, under the title, “Dawn of the Data Age.”

heat map of city activity in Berlin

Stadtbild Berlin