in Wandsworth

Whither Battersea? Or anywhere?

Battersea, according to flickr (screenshot from http://boundaries.tomtaylor.co.uk/)

I love things like this. It is the geek in me. The map above is from a project called Boundaries by Tom Taylor (and thanks to Robert Brook for bringing it to my attention). It essentially takes the data that flickr users input when they upload their photos. While there’s complicated background to it which you can find via the Boundaries site, users are essentially asked where the photo is; although GPS data has already given a precise location no-one lives at a GPS co-ordinate, they live in a neighbourhood, or an area, or a town.

This data can then be used to map where people think areas are, not where they are told they are. And some if it is remarkably accurate. Take the map of London, for example, or the counties around London.

I love it for three reasons:

1. It’s proof of the value of having data opened up. People will use it for wonderful things.
2. It shows that, actually, a lot of people (well, flickr users) know they are in Battersea – not Clapham.
3. It’s just intrinsically interesting.

Of course, there are downsides…

Clapham, according to flickr users (screenshot from http://boundaries.tomtaylor.co.uk/

Clapham, according to flickr (screenshot from http://boundaries.tomtaylor.co.uk/)

A lot of flickr users also wrongly think they live in Clapham. Enough to create a huge map swathe reaching all the way down to Brixton all the way up to the Thames.

So not entirely good news for those of us who want to defend Battersea as something that’s not Clapham (it’s better than Clapham, better by miles).

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