A data visualisation project by photographer Eric Fischer has enabled an analysis of city routes taken by tourists and locals. Combining geotag data with login information, he was able to define if the photographers were living in the specific city permanently (blue) or lived somewhere else and only uploaded pictures from that place for less than a month (red). Yellow tracks are Flickr users who could not be connected to a home city through this logic, but are probably tourists as well. This creates a beautiful visual medley of city data:

Locals and tourists maps of the biggest cities ordered according to uploads by locals.

Looking at the map for my home town, Utrecht, confirms the cliché conception I have of tourists in the city: They always seem to walk in the way when I need to cross the Oudegracht, the old canal running through the inner city with an s-bend in the middle. This is the part of the centre where the historic architecture is most visible, therefore very attractive for visitors.

Locals seem to take other paths through the city as well. Or they share these routes with tourists but also use their cameras on their way, while tourists think these surroundings are not worth to be recorded, which is another possibility.

Map of Utrecht city centre, note the red curvy line from North to South

Nevertheless, a colleague mentioned another story. In Barcelona, the same type of data visualisation but then based on phone calls with foreign numbers, is used by the municipality to adjust tourist policy strategies.

Map of Barcelona, tourist activities are marked red.