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City Constellations: Maps Show Human Movement

San Francisco Bay Area

Movement in the San Francisco Bay area

(Image credit: Chris Danforth, University of Vermont)

A map of human movement in the San Francisco Bay Area. Using geotagged Tweets, researchers found that metro downtowns are full of people who move about more (yellow), while suburban types tend to stay close to home (red).

New York City

Movement of people in New York City.

(Image credit: Chris Danforth, University of Vermont)

Motion map for New York City. Yellow dots are wider traveler while red dots stay close to home. The data comes from 180,000 Twitter users in 2011.

Chicago Motion

chicago motion map

(Image credit: Chris Danforth, University of Vermont)

The windy city map reveals a pocket of wide travelers downtown, perhaps tourists and commuters. The researchers submitted their findings April 4 to the physics preprint website arXiv.

Los Angeles Motion

Los Angeles motion

(Image credit: Chris Danforth, University of Vermont)

Patterns of life in Los Angeles as gleaned from geotagged Tweets.

Predictable Movements

Home to work axis.

(Image credit: Chris Danforth, University of Vermont)

The movements of 180,000 people in 2011 reveal a predictable home (red region) to work (narrow yellow region) axis. Blue regions are less-visited areas.

Stephanie Pappas
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii. Stephanie hails from East Tennessee, the global center for salamander diversity. Follow Stephanie on Google+.