This image of Manhattan is one of seven city maps created by Livehoods, a research project from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, which studies the dynamics of a city by analyzing social media. The Livehoods mission is to map and understand the character of urban areas throughout North America. By combining Google Maps with check-ins from more than 4 million users on popular social media sites such as Twitter and Foursquare, Livehoods analyzes the ever-changing undercurrents that comprise a city, including geography, demographics, economic resources, and cultural habits. Each dot signifies a check-in destination and is assigned a color. A cluster of dots with the same color represents a “livehood,” or dynamic area of the city. When clicked on, each livehood has a list of its top five check-in locations, as well as the top five unique things to do in the area. These factors can be monitored to discover how the urban landscape changes over time. With the growing number of location-based apps available on smartphones, Livehoods is just one example of how mobile GEOINT applications are making a splash in the commercial world and have many considering how the same technology can be applied to the defense and intelligence sectors.
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