Real-time map of Pedestrian traffic


Real-time maps, as an expression of spatio-temporal data are always interesting to explore and provide interesting insights into the system that is being visualized. The “Boston Bus Speed Map” for e.g. provides an amazing insight into how the public transit system works during rush hours in the city of Boston. TRAVIC on the other hand  provides a global view of the public transit systems in different cities.  (Related: #Geoawesome map of the world’s transit systems in real-time). But then how about   real-time maps that showcase the movement of pedestrians and cyclists in a given area?

Real-time map of pedestrian traffic

Placemeter, a New-York based start-up has blogged about a real-time map of pedestrians (and bikers) outside Union Square, NYC. It’s probably the first time we are getting to see a real-time map of pedestrians and it’s really interesting to watch it in action!

Location-based Marketing

The map is an indicator of how location-based marketing might evolve in the future. Its entirely possible that such systems will be used to determine the rent of retail outlets (if online shopping doesn’t end up killing the concept by then, but I doubt that). Already in this map, its possible to get a real-time count of the number of people headed to Chipotle and Geox. It would be interesting to understand how companies can turn all this data into useful insight.

How did they map it? Privacy?

Placemeter utilises either its own sensors or Security camera feed (live or recorded) to extract information about the movement of pedestrians and vehicles outside a particular location. The startup has explicitly tried to allay privacy concerns about such a system by answering a few privacy related questions on their FAQs page.


Interested in more detailed analysis of how such location-based data can be put to use? Check out their analysis on “How did Winter Storm Jonas affect pedestrian activity in New York City?”. 

I am one of those passionate "Geo-geeks" and "Geo-people" who is just too excited about everything Geo and Management. Location information and spatial technologies are just too big to take a back seat and watch them revolutionize the world. Always curious and looking for ways to innovate, I guess that it comes naturally by the gene pool I inherited from an engineer Mom and a researcher Dad.