Amsterdam Flickr - Photographic memory

Locations where tourists have been at specific moments in time are traditionally studied by expensive and time-consuming fieldwork methods like questionnaires, people counts and travel diaries. Gathering knowledge with
these techniques provides limited coverage in both space and time. Nowadays, many tourists use social media platforms like Twitter, Flickr and Instagram to document everything they do on a trip, and share it with the world. This type of data might be turned into a rich source of geo-referenced information about the location of tourists in a city at a given moment in time. Leveraging this ambient geosocial data has the potential to provide the fine-grained knowledge about people making use of the inner city, which is needed by planners and policy-makers.
A research project by Sander van der Drift.

Photographic Memory is a project that uses publicly available Flickr photography to gain insight into the dynamics of tourism in urban

environments. It is an effort to explore the spatial-temporal characteristics of the use of the city’s infrastructure, to uncover its dynamics and to identify bottlenecks. For this research, the metadata of 2,849,261 photos was downloaded from Flickr and stored in a spatial database. From this dataset, 484,346 photos were located in Amsterdam. The most visited places and touristic routes in the city were identified by making use of sophisticated clustering and routing algorithms. Despite several imperfections of geosocial data, we concluded that it provides meaningful insights into the spatio-temporal patterns of tourists in urban spaces and are a valuable addition to traditional tourism surveys.