Student blog of the Stanford University Urban Studies Department

San Francisco’s Population in Real Time

In early 2011, The Wall Street Journal partnered with the geolocating company, Foursquare, to track every user’s check-ins for a week in both New York City and San Francisco.  They then compared where users checked in most (and by type, gender, etc.).

I couldn’t get over the cool slideshow they created with hourly data–San Francisco’s is above.  If we set aside the fact that these data are skewed to a certain segment of the population (namely a young, technologically savvy demographic), it’s incredible to see where the population goes at which hours of the day, and to watch the city slumber each night and awaken each day.  There’s a wonderous quality that comes with being unable to disaggregate the city into its individual organisms and seeing it (as a whole) as a singluar organism.

I wonder how the map would differ one year later.  Or five, ten, twenty years from now.


You can see both New York’s and San Francisco’s heat maps here, along with comparative statistics for each city.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: