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Moritz Stefaner Maps The Life Of A City

Using data culled from Foursquare and Yelp, the artist represents various cities according to cultural activity.

Detail from map of Berlin

Say you're off on vacation and you want to find out about the city you're visiting. Looking at a standard street map will show you building and street names, railway stations, and landmarks, but what about the hubs of cultural activity where people go to eat, party, or shop? 

Moritz Stefaner has decided to map a city, not based on its physical infrastructure, but by the activities of its citizens. "I am increasingly fascinated by the idea of mapping the 'real world'" he says. Using data collected by Uberblic he's created a series of maps called Stadtbilder that are "an attempt to map the digital shape of cities", so instead of roads we get the an abstract representation of the amount of partying, shopping, and eating people have be indulging in.

He created these from the "digital traces" people leave behind. "The maps show an overlay of all the digitally marked 'hotspots' in a city, such as restaurant, hotels, clubs, etc. collected from different service like yelp, or foursquare." he writes, saying it's all about representing the living parts of a city, its cultural action.

Semanticist Alfred Korzybski once famously said "The map is not the territory" and while that still holds true, this project points to world where, with advancing technology and the wealth of real-time data being stored by smartphones and other devices, the gap between the two highlighted in that phrase might not always be so wide. 

The maps are created as prints and currently he's made them for Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. You can check them out below.


Process shots

@stewart23rd