The mobile phone has rapidly become a very essential tool that we carry with us all the time, everywhere we go. It has become the focus of our communication and information in a hyper-connected world, which tolerates less and less that we disconnect or just don’t have immediate access to information.
Based on this conclusion the City of Geneva decided to take the challenge to visualize these digital traces created by our mobile phones. The objective of this installation was to make this data visible and allow you to explore these streams of connected people around the city, in their everyday life.
During one day Swisscom subscribers in Geneva generate approximately 15 million connections from 2 million phone calls. This information called ‘digital traces’ offers new insights about the city, which are of great interest both from a economic and political perspective. Examples are the following:
– For citizens this data allows to feel the pulse of the population and see how they use the urban space. It offers a great innovation opportunity for new citizen services like traffic jam detectors or nightlife buzz indicators.
– For the public administration these digital traces can be very useful to evaluate urban planning strategies.
– For businesses the digital traces can reveal insights on how popular certain districts are, during what time periods. This information can be leveraged to determine leases or chose the best spot for a shop or restaurant.
More generally digital traces allow to reveal information that is invisible in traditional visualization techniques such as cartography. They reflect mobility in a city or a street and therefore represent ‘living’ space, animated by the people.
The project was realized in collaboration with Lift and Near Future Laboratory. The animation and eight posters were shown near Geneva central station from February 20th to March 4th 2012.