I believe knowledge is sexy.

I love Foursquare Day. Every 4-16 I look forward to checking in and getting whatever special badge or surprise they’ve posted. Also, it’s just a damn good pun.

This year Foursquare announced something new and fun on Foursquare Day: check-in history visualization. This is a feature I’ve desired from Foursquare for a very long time. Investigating different ways of understanding my own movement through the world, including with check-ins, is an area I hope to explore in more depth for myself at some point in the future. I was understandably excited. Here are some visualizations they produced for me spanning April 16, 2012 to April 16, 2013.

Grouping check-ins by type. I obviously love to eat. A lot.
A straightforward timeline view. Check-in density increases in early 2013 due to my renewal of more regular journaling and growing interest in self-quantification.
This network graph is pretty, but not terribly clear or useful. I would’ve appreciated the ability to zoom and pan the graph or keep a node highlighted.

Learning from the visuals?

Foursquare’s first crack at visualization is a great start, and leaves room to grow. Coming from the company that pioneered mobile location interaction, I would have expected some sort of map-based visualization, such as a check-in area heat map. As they stand, the visualizations are moderately interesting, but don’t do much to satisfy the hunger for deeper exploration that curses me as a self-tracker. I’m hoping this is a “hobby” that Foursquare will continue to develop.

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