January 3rd, 2010
Nick Bilton wrote a post on the NYTimes Bits Blog last week about a visualization project we worked on together in the NYTimes R+D lab. Along with Noriaki Okada (our intern in R+D), we created an app that visualizes 24hours worth of web + mobile traffic to nytimes.com on a map. The visualization gives us a peek in to the access patterns of nytimes.com readers throughout the day.
The app was built using Processing and takes advantage of the MovieMaker library to create a time-lapse video. We took an entire day’s worth of access to nytimes.com (web and mobile sites) and trimmed it down so that it’s viewable in a minute and a half long video. We’ve set up a process that will create multiple versions of the time-lapse video for any day: a world view and a view of the US (zoomed-in).
Below are two sample videos, showing traffic to nytimes.com and mobile.nytimes.com the day Michael Jackson died. A few notes about the videos:
- yellow circles = traffic to nytimes.com, red circles = traffic to mobile.nytimes.com
- the size of each circle represents the number of hits coming from each location at a given time
- watch how the mobile traffic (the red circles) grows during the morning hours, as people wake up and commute in to work
- the large red circles (mobile traffic) around Toronto and Dallas are due to those cities being large mobile hubs. E.g. Waterloo, near Toronto, is home to RIM (makers of BlackBerry) and a lot of the BB mobile traffic is proxied through Waterloo before hitting nytimes.com
- watch the “pulse” when the Michael Jackson news broke, around 5:50pm EST
- there are plenty of other interesting observations, such as the mobile traffic patterns in areas like Africa, India, and parts of China.
- the videos below are pretty low-res…hoping to post higher res versions later
I’m hoping to post more about the project later (especially the data collection and aggregation part) and possibly even release some of the code (if I get a little free time).
U.S. Traffic to NYTimes on June 25, 2009
World Traffic to NYTimes on June 25, 2009