At last, someone has done something useful and turned the national Internet pastime of cat-picture sharing into a megamap. According to Owen Mundy, founder of the website I Know Where Your Cat Lives, there are 15 million images out there tagged with the word "cat" on public photo-sharing sites. He's gone and mapped a slice of that—about 1 million felines in total—with the help of a supercomputer at Florida State University. Working with the metadata attached to location-enabled social media posts the world over, the map pinpoints kitties' whereabouts within 7.8 meters' accuracy. The effort, which has a Kickstarter campaign, is part public service, part exercise in postmodern Internet creepitude. "This project explores two uses of the internet: the sociable and humorous appreciation of domesticated felines, and the status quo of personal data usage by startups and international megacorps who are riding the wave of decreased privacy for all," Mundy writes, sounding exactly like someone who would feed 1 million cat pictures into a supercomputer.
The map's not perfect—not everyone uses the tag "cat," and some who do are women named Cat or happen to be posing next to giant inflatable Hello Kitties—but it does reveal a random sample of cat density in San Francisco neighborhoods. Quite a lot of cats live downtown, a place where there's less green space for dog walking, we surmise? The runner up appears to be Russian Hill, followed by the Richmond/Presidio.
Helpfully, Mundy also provides maps showing the cat population in the US (California wins!) and graphs the top cities for cats in the state: San Francisco only comes in third, after San Diego (??) and Los Angeles. This means WAR, Curbed LA.
· Finally: A Map of All the Cat Photographs in Los Angeles [Curbed LA]
· I Know Where Your Cat Lives [Official Site]