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 World reveals the international nature of Inauguration Day. It represents the variation in call activity among US States and foreign countries as flows of people traveling to Washington, D.C. to celebrate President Obama, and then departing the capital to go back home. The event is truly international with people present from 138 countries, totaling over half of all the countries in the world. Among the foreign countries, the main international callers are from Canada, Great Britain, France, and Puerto Rico, which register a five-fold increase in call activity. In the U.S., the top calling states are also the country's most populous: California, Florida, New York, and Texas. Notably, Georgia also figures in the list of top five callers on Inauguration Day, even though it ranks ninth in U.S. population.


The World illustrates the provenance of those who traveled from all over the U.S. and the world to Washington D.C. to witness President Obama's inauguration. It interprets the variations in call activity as flows of people arriving in Washington, D.C. and then leaving the capital to go back to their home states and countries. A world map shows links between Washington, D.C. and countries abroad. Dynamic packets of information represent 100 calls for U.S. States and 10 calls for foreign countries depending on whether call activity increased or decreased in relation to the previous hour. The timeline on the bottom of the screen connects back to The City visualization by showing the overall trend of call activity in Washington, D.C. during the week of the Presidential Inauguration.

The World Screenshot 1 The World Screenshot 2

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

Press Materials
The material on this website can be used freely in any publication provided that:

It is duly credited as a project by the MIT Senseable City Lab. PDF copy of the publication is sent to

For more information,