THE TEAM
SENSEable City Laboratory

Assaf Biderman | associate director
Mauro Martino | interaction designer
Carlo Ratti | director
Andrea Vaccari | project leader

Special thanks to:

Jon Reades | data analysis
Francisca Rojas | text analysis
Caitlin Zacharias | text analysis


THE CITY

The City illustrates the emotional flow of the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. Through an analysis of the number of mobile phone calls made in Washington D.C. on Inauguration Day and the home state or country of phone origin, it is possible to see peaks of call activity as the crowd anticipates President Obama's oath, a drop in call activity as the crowd listens to his inaugural address, and peaks again as the crowd celebrates the inauguration of the new President. Through their cell phones, those present at the historic event share their impressions with friends and family in vast numbers: on the morning of January 20th, call activity is two to three times stronger than usual, and it rises to five times the normal levels after 2 pm as President Obama takes his oath and people begin to celebrate.






ABOUT THE VISUALIZATION

The City joins the mobile call data with a map of Washington D.C. to produce a stirring visualization. The areas around the Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue, where most inaugural activities took place, are highlighted on the map with 3-D building models colored in yellow. In the center of the screen, the map of Washington, D.C. is overlaid with a 3-D color-coded animated surface of square tiles (1 tile represents an area of 150 x 150 meters). Each tile rises and turns red as call activity increases and likewise drops and turns yellow as activity decreases. On the left, a bar chart breaks down the call activity by showing the normalized contributions of calls from the 50 states and 138 foreign countries grouped by continent. The timeline at the bottom illustrates the overall trend of call activity in the city during the week of the Presidential Inauguration.


The City Screenshot 1 The City Screenshot 2

Click on the images to view high-res screenshots of the visualization




BONUS VERSION

The Bonus Version of The City illustrates the emotional flow of the Presidential Inauguration with a slightly different take. Instead of illustrating the call activity of the 50 states with a bar chart, the contributions are represented in an animated map of the United States that embraces the city of Washington, D.C. This version allows those that are familiar with the political geography of the United States to more easily associate variations in call activity to the states that generate them.






ABOUT THE VISUALIZATION

This bonus version illustrates the call activity in a visualization that is easy to understand. In the center of the screen, the map of Washington, D.C. is overlaid with a 3-D color-coded animated surface of square tiles (1 tile represents an area of 150 x 150 meters). Each tile rises and turns red as call activity increases and likewise drops and turns yellow as activity decreases. In the background, an animated map of the United States embraces Washington, D.C. and highlights the normalized contributions of the 50 U.S. States, where those with strong increases in call activity light up and get closer to the viewer. The timeline at the bottom illustrates the overall trend of call activity in the city during the week of the Presidential Inauguration.


The City (bonus version) Screenshot 1 The City (bonus version) Screenshot 2

Click on the images to view high-res screenshots of the visualization