From the January 2013 issue of LAM:
By Lydia W. Lee
Even though Alexander Dunkel, Student ASLA, has never visited the High Line in New York City, he can tell you exactly what part of the park is the most popular: the 10th Avenue Square. How? He spent a year analyzing Flickr, the popular image web site, and seeing where people take the most photos. Because many of the images in Flickr collections are tagged with their precise geographic location as well as a descriptor (“Golden Gate Bridge,” for example), Dunkel was able to generate maps of an area’s most frequently photographed subjects. From his home in Dresden, Germany, he spoke about his research at the University of California, Berkeley, which won a 2012 ASLA Student Honor Award.
What inspired you to study Flickr?
Flickr is a unique source of data that shows how people interact with the landscape. Some people take pictures all the time, some people only take a picture of things that are really important to them, but if you look at the whole data set, you see what the majority opinion is.