You can always track where in the world you’ve been with old school pins on a map board, but if you want a more sophisticated, digital version, there’s Visits, a program that turns your personal globetrotting history into a series of interactive online map-timelines. It turns GPS data–usually an unsentimental batch of numbers–into a means of recording memories.
V.isits.in is a research project by Alice Thudt, Dominkus Baur and professor Sheelagh Carpendale, at the University of Calgary, which aggregates geotags from your Flickr albums, data from OpenPath, and Google Location Histories to visualize where you’ve been and how long you stayed there. (The program runs locally on Visits’ browser, so no private data is uploaded to their servers.) When you plug in your data, you can recreate your trip in a series of circular maps right on your screen.
The design doesn’t recycle the usual “pins on a map board” approach, which can be hard to read when pins overlap in clusters, and which doesn’t convey the order of places visited or the time spent in each. Instead, Visits creates an entirely new map for each place visited, and then orders them sequentially. The size of the map conveys the duration of your stay–the bigger the circle, the longer the stay. It also incorporates your photos: red pins indicate a geotagged photo, which appears on screen when you hover over the pin.
As to what constitutes a “place” visited, you decide: the “place slider” lets you adjust the granularity of your maps, so if you want a visualization of your trip street by street, it will create a series of tiny circular maps; and if you want a visualization of your trip country by country, it will lump all the data from each nation into a single map for each. And, of course, you can also share your mapped Visits on social media–a way to show off your worldliness without uploading yet another Facebook album.
Play around with Visits here.