From app to art: visualizing the routes of runners

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Nathan Yau of Flowing Data posits that statistics can be beautiful. He demonstrates this with his many data visualization projects that marry beauty and information.

In a recent project, Yau used aggregate data from public running apps and visualized the routes taken in major cities. The images clearly show the popular routes with the heavy weight of bold lines. And yet, the visualizations can appear similar to pencil drawings with a halo of linework representing a runner’s shortcut or divergence from a path.

Yau summarizes his findings: “If there’s one quick (and expected) takeaway, it’s that people like to run by the water and in parks, probably to get away from cars and the scenery. In the smaller inland cities, there seem to be a few high-traffic roads with less running elsewhere.”

Click through to see the full set of cities.



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