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Mapping SF by its most popular Instagram hashtags

From #lataqueriasf to #olivegarden

Geotagged map of the Bay Area using Instagram hashtags Map by #tagsandthecity

A creative new map renames Bay Area transit stop for what’s really important: the most popular Instagram hashtags in their general vicinity. Designed by Jug Cerovic, David Goldwich, and Tin Fischer, the map—billed Tags and the City—uses geotagged Instagram data to map San Francisco by Instagrammers’ most favorite things.

It works like this: the Church Street station becomes #blackbird (the station is next to the popular arcade/bar in the Castro) and Duboce and Noe is rechristened #dogpark (Duboce Park has arguably the city’s finest park for pooches). Civic Center becomes #sfpride (the area’s most populated event of the year), while the Montgomery Street station has the unfortunate distinction of being renamed #sushirrito for its close proximity to the eatery that sells oversized sushi honkers laced with—shudder—mayonnaise. Other notable locations: #sunset (the SF Zoo stop, right next to the Pacific Ocean), #cafestjorge (San Jose and Randall), and #twitter (Van Ness).

But this map isn’t relegated to only San Francisco. Parts of BART system in the East Bay also gets retagged. The San Leandro stop becomes #drakes and the Oakland Coliseum turns into #warriors, just to name two. Peninsula Caltrain stops also get renamed. For example, Broadway becomes #innout (beautiful) and San Carlos turns into #oracle (in honor of Larry Ellison’s empire).

Map by #tagsandthecity

Over on Reddit, the designers explained their methodology.

[W]e chose the hundred most popular stations (popular on Instagram). The stations got their name mainly automatically, but with a bit of editorial choice. We calculate the most significant hashtag which is used around each station (largest deviation from average frequency of respective hashtag across all stations), usually within 300 meters. But if this hashtag is just the station’s or the neighborhood’s name we went for the next one. When a hashtag referred to an event which is not repeated each year at the same place, we skipped it too. We only counted one photograph from each account and a hashtag had to have a minimum frequency of 100.

However, some of this data might be a touch out of date—#gostanford instead of #facebook for Menlo Park!?—because all the data used in this project is from 2014. Alas, Instagram has since stopped providing the same level of geographic info.

The trio has also created similar hashtag maps for New York City, Paris, London, and Berlin.