If you had a visualization of every place you've been for 200 days, what could you do with it? What could it tell you about yourself and how could others use the data?
Technology allows us to see information in a way we never could before. Atlas of the Habitual is about creating data out of the everyday, the hyper-digitizing of your life.
This atlas is a catalog of my experiences over 200 days. It is a realistic self portrait of my everyday habits and developing routine, piecing together my life action by action, map by map.
With the increased integration of technology into our everyday lives, traces are created for all of our interactions with networked devices. At its most basic level, one's phone records and internet browsing history are saved by the companies that provide these services. It has become such a part of our lives that most people pass off the meticulous records being kept on them.
People not only generate data out of their interactions with technology, they also create it through the course of their day.
This atlas exists to digitize my everyday movements, to create a personal dataset and start to explore how that information can be used. The questions then arise: How best to parse and present this information? What constraints were followed?
For this atlas, categories were generated based on different aspects of my life and public data I found about the location. The dataset was used to recount memories, actions and interactions I had in my current residence of Bennington, Vermont, USA. This data can be presented in a virtually unlimited number of ways, depending on what one wanted to do with the data. Although the information holds great value to the individual, it could also be seen as a commodity.
With this dataset an auto insurance company would be able to see how often, and at what speed I drove based on the time between latitude and longitude positions in the dataset. The company could then cross-reference this to the speed limits on the roads I was on and prorate my policy to that information. If a loved one in another location had access, they could see how I spent my time. The information could also be seen as a travel journal or even a location-based check in service. Knowing this information could help or hurt a relationship with others due to one's location, activity or what company they kept.
With more and more information about ourselves being inputted and shared through technology, accessing, selling or even having to pay for this information could be the future.
This is my data, my self-portrait. It is my impression on this location.
Total distance for Atlas of the Habitual: 2072.5 miles.
This is my process.
Data collection began on August 24, 2010, the day before I started a new job. This position called for me to uproot and move to a location I had never been to before, Bennington, Vermont, USA. I knew nothing about the town or anyone in it.
Data collection ended on March 13, 2011. This date was picked because it marked the 200th day of gathering this information. Also around that time, I finally felt that I had established a life here.
Data collection process: Each time I stepped outside, I activated the GPS feature on my mobile phone. I would then proceed to my desired end location keeping in mind my experience from point A to B. I would then save the track and tag it with keywords.
For example, a track named Ben220KateAFRain would stand for being in Bennington on February 20, with or going to see Kate, listening to the Arcade Fire album "The Suburbs," while it was raining. This process was repeated everywhere I went for the 200 days. I would then import all the tracks into the computer, and put the tracks in corresponding folders named for each tag. The folders would then be exported into Processing where custom software visualized that track with a backdrop of all tracks. Images and prints were then made out of this program.