Some see the current fitness tracking/self-quantification craze as the holy grail of personal health; others see it as a exercise in navel-gazing. Does all this data on steps taken and calories burned actually serve some greater purpose, or is it just clogging up the Cloud? At the very least, collections of self-data have lent themselves to some cool visualizations, like this new series of heatmaps by the information designers at Human, a Smartphone app that monitors users’ various types of movement.
By tracking the activity of 2,797 Human users in New York City, the company’s data scientists created artful heatmaps visualizing different kinds of movement around the five boroughs: biking, running, walking, and other transport. With activity gridded in glowing white against black, the maps resemble zoomed-out x-rays and double as art prints (you can order them to hang on your wall). They offer insight into collective fitness of various boroughs (with the caveat that this is a very small sample size; Manhattanites are not necessarily more active than Brooklynites, they probably just use fitness apps more). Human’s data collection from 900 cities worldwide reveals that New York-based users of the app get an average of 20 more active minutes daily than the worldwide city average. It apparently pays off to live in the most walkable city in the country.