Tracking Check-ins With Foursquare Time Machine

Location-based service Foursquare recently released a new feature allowing users to track their past checks by location, venue type and other metrics The browser app visualizes check-ins in sequential order, creating a colorful map and ultimately a personalized infographic.

Apparently, I’ve checked in on foursquare more than 2,400 times — so mine took a bit — but the end result is (slightly) interesting:

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Mapping Smartphone Use By State

Today at work I wrote a quick blog post about a new U.S. Census Bureau report on Internet use in America. The report suggested that smartphones were helping decrease the digital divide of access to the Web among blacks and Hispanics.

The U.S. Census Bureau survey was the first time the agency asked respondents about whether they used smartphones to go online, allowing a comparison of each racial and ethnic group’s overall digital activity. The bureau said that whites and Asians were more likely to have access to a home Internet connection.

Asians, for example, reported home Internet rates that were 27 percentage points higher than Hispanics. That rate disparity dropped to 18 percentage points with smartphone and home use combined.

Close to half of all Americans use a smart phone to connect to the Internet, and that rate remains similar across all groups: Asians (51.6%), non-Hispanic whites (48.6%), blacks (47.3%), Hispanics (45.4%).

The report also examined smartphone use by geography, with some interesting results:

While many states in the Southeastern and Northeastern parts of the country (along with certain areas in the Midwest) had smartphone usage below the national average of 48.2 percent, the vast majority of states west of the Mississippi River had smartphone usage rates either statistically higher or not statistically different from the national average.

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Read the report, and download the data.

Birthday Heatmap Born Again

Last year on my birthday I created a quick heatmap visualizing birthdays by their rank on the calendar. Despite its flaws, the graphic went viral by The Daily Viz standards, receiving a quarter million views.

Most of the attention came in the month of May 2012. But what’s been interesting is its long-tail appeal. Every few months or so my traffic spikes — and I always know why. It has been viewed 100,000 times in the last year. This chart from Google Analytics shows the spikes, including one in recent days thanks to links from Radiolab and io9.

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Last fall, around the time that birthdays are most common, my wife and I had a baby, Eva, and I’ve found it difficult to keep this blog “daily” while also focusing on my day job. I’m using this most recent traffic spike as inspiration to get blogging again.

I hope, someday soon, to create something that’s more popular than that silly heatmap. Stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter for updates.

“22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other”


UPDATE: Enthusiastic Marylanders have alerted us that there is indeed a town named “Bowie, Md.” that is pronounced “Boo-wie.” That solves that. No word yet from Texans. UPDATE 2: From a Texan: “It’s pronounced Boo-wie because it’s named after Jim Bowie (pronounced Boo-wie), who played a major role in the Texas revolution. Joshua Katz, a Ph. D student in statistics at North Carolina State University, just published a group of awesome visualizations of Professor Bert Vaux and Scott Golder’s linguistic survey that looked at how Americans pronounce words.

Read more at: www.businessinsider.com

“Census: Black Voting Surpassed White in 2012 : NPR”

Some simple charts from work. Hoping to get back into the “daily” viz blog soon…


Black voters showed up at the polls at higher rates than whites in last year’s presidential election, driving the rate of minority participation to historic levels, a new government report shows. While voting and turnout rates from 2012 were known soon after President Obama’s re-election, the survey by the U.S.

Read more at: www.npr.org

“Stunning Satellite Images Show A Changing Globe : NPR”


Google has released a stunning cache of satellite images that show how the globe has changed in recent decades. Thursday’s announcement came from the search giant’s official blog: “Working with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NASA and TIME, we’re releasing more than a quarter-century of images of Earth taken from space, compiled for the first time into an interactive time-lapse experience.

Read more at: www.npr.org

“N.F.L. Draft: How Good Are Teams at Picking the Best?”


So how do Pro Bowl-caliber players go undetected until late in the draft? In part, it’s because assessing college players’ N.F.L. potential is very difficult. Collegiate success is no guarantee in the N.F.L.; offensive and defensive schemes vary widely; and, unlike in baseball or basketball, there are relatively few games in a college season, which means there are fewer observable events for scouts.

Read more at: www.nytimes.com