The photos you post online leave enough information behind for people to work out where your next photo will be taken

Louis Dor
Thursday 13 August 2015 17:40
Science and Tech

Using location data from photographs taken on your mobile phone, researchers believe it is possible to predict where you will travel to next, with a high degree of accuracy.

A team from University College London took GPS and timestamp data from 8 million Flickr images from 16,000 UK users.

They used an algorithm to analyse every photo in order to predict where people might move next, comparing their results with National Travel Survey (NTS) Data.

The researchers found during the study, published in Royal Society Open Science, that in 92 per cent of cases their predictions reflected the trends in the NTS.

The team concluded that the algorithm allowed them:

[To] infer general patterns of human mobility in the UK, essentially learning maps and travel flows from data alone.

Although the evaluation of our method is sometimes difficult due to the lack of extensive official surveys on mobility at the country level, our findings appear to be in general agreement with the evidence available, providing a novel statistical tool for the analysis of online data sources, and adding to the evidence that online data can be used to quantify human travel.

In essence, the photographs didn't tell the researchers exactly where someone would be, but showed them from where and to where they were most likely to travel in future. Spooky.

HT TechRadar

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