When travelling abroad or moving to a new city, we all wonder where we should be spending our afternoons – which neighbourhoods are worth getting lost in, where we’ll find the tourist traps, and whether there’s much of a difference between city native haunts and popular places with tourists.
If hitting the ground and living like a local is important to you, take a look at Eric Fischer’s project, “Locals and Tourists,” where he explores, via heatmaps, the experiences of a local versus a tourist. His photo series maps images and tweets that have been geotagged in cities around the world and colour codes them as photos taken or tweets sent by locals (blue) or tourists (red).
Fischer explains his methodology in an introduction to his Flickr album:
Blue points on the map are pictures taken by locals (people who have taken pictures in this city dated over a range of a month or more).
Red points are pictures taken by tourists (people who seem to be a local of a different city and who took pictures in this city for less than a month).
Yellow points are pictures where it can’t be determined whether or not the photographer was a tourist (because they haven’t taken pictures anywhere for over a month). They are probably tourists but might just not post many pictures at all.
What Fischer began in 2010 has now grown into a series of 136 city maps. And some cities include obvious tourist favourites that make it easy to navigate just by the geotags. In New York City, Central Park appears as one red rectangle, and the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building are big red dots alive with tourist action. In my city of residence – Vancouver – geotags show that tourists seem keen to visit our nude beach, Wreck.
As Fischer points out himself, “Some cities (for example Las Vegas and Venice) do seem to be photographed almost entirely by tourists. Others seem to have many pictures taken in places that tourists don’t visit.”
Interested? Find your hometown or the city to which you’re headed and see where the locals hang. Find anything unusual about your favourite city? Share it with us below.
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