To keep up my cartophilia. I’ve generated some new maps with my 883 check-ins of 2016. Outside of my usual spots in Austin, I was lucky enough visit several cities two years in a row. This was enough to generate some comparable location data of the app.
In general, my maps of downtown Austin and Riverside appear mostly the same, as I live and work in the same place I have since last year’s post. I have 2015 and 2016 side-by-side.
While I didn’t replicate the scale for my maps exactly, I’m still able to notice that I more or less spent time in the same areas around Austin. Just based on the heat maps I can see I spent more time downtown, East Austin and the South Congress area than the previous year.
Last year I wrote about how the geolocation data for my check-ins in Copenhagen, Denmark and Berlin, Germany were somewhat incorrect. After having the opportunity to go there again in 2016, I noticed that the check-in data has appeared to be more accurate:
On the 2015 map you can see there are more clusters of the check-ins, not because of their proximity, but more likely to rounded-off GPS coordinates for bars and restaurants. This year the check-ins are more distributed around the city than before. As my trips to Denmark were for the Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen (formerly Copenhagen Beer Celebration), I largely went to the same bars and restaurants two years in a row.
I’m not familiar with the tech behind how Foursquare works, but I wouldn’t be surprised if improvements to the app allowed for better data representation during check-ins. These could be improvements to the geolocations of places, or the end-user while checking-in. This could be aided by better data provided by location services on my iPhone as well. While I can speculate all I want, I can see that the data is improved.
I generated some pin maps of my other travels throughout the year, as well. I noticed from previous travels in places like Croatia and Turkey (where American social media penetration is light) that check-in geolocation can be off by several miles. However, when I was in Belize, I noticed that the locations were generally pretty accurate. The least accurate check-in I have is a totally incorrect check-in for the town of Ardmore in Ireland. On the map, you can see a cluster of check-ins on the central coast (Ardmore’s location). However, there is a totally inaccurate check-in near Waterford inland, nowhere near Ardmore. I tried updating the location in the app, but it looks like that it hasn’t been fixed.
John is a Technical Project Manager at WP Engine. Before moving to Austin, John lived in South Korea and China for the better part of four years. His life as an amateur Chinese web censorship expert, traveler, map nerd and beer geek can be found on this site.