File this under “cool, but what can it teach us?”
By utilizing geotags, which relay the exact location of the photographer, a UC Berkley researcher was able to place over 125,000 photos on a map of the area [PDF], with expanding colored disks indicating the popularity of a certain viewpoints.
Using tags, with which users describe the content of the photos, he presented popular subjects as word clouds, located at the weighted center of frequency.
This is particularly interesting when it comes to looking at areas before the installation of a park or trail and seeing how the new resource appeals to the social media savvy crowd. That said, it would be interesting to follow-up this study by looking at Instagram.
Read more about this study, and see the social media impact of The Highline at Atlantic cities.