Welcome to today's internet—you can buy anything, every website is tracking your every move, and anywhere you look you find videos and images of cats. Currently, there are 15 million images tagged with the word “cat” on public image hosting sites, and daily thousands more are uploaded from unlimited positions on the globe.
I Know Where Your Cat Lives iknowwhereyourcatlives.com is a data visualization experiment that locates a sample of one million public images of cats on a world map by the latitude and longitude coordinates embedded in their metadata. The cats were accessed via publicly available APIs provided by popular photo sharing websites. The photos were then run through various clustering algorithms using a supercomputer in order to represent the enormity of the data source.
This project explores two uses of the internet: one that promotes sharing for the sociable and humorous appreciation of domesticated felines, and one in which the status quo of personal data usage is exploited by startups and international mega-corporations, who are riding the wave of decreased privacy for all. I Know Where Your Cat Lives does not visualize all of the cats on the net, only those public cats that have allowed me to track where their owners have been.
Thanks for letting us be your cat fan headquarters; keep the pictures coming.
Some things that are important for you to know:
To remove your image from this website simply increase the privacy settings on your own public photos.
It’s simple, really. But not so simple, really. We procured the images by running a query for public photos tagged with cats from the APIs provided by Flickr, Twitpic, Instagram, and a few others.
You have the right to remove your pictures from this website. The way you would go about doing so is by increasing the privacy settings of the photos of your furry feline friends. Then within 30 days your photos will be gone from our site.
They tend to roam... Every photo on this site was created and uploaded with the locational metadata intact by the original owners. With an estimated 7.8 meters accuracy, if you took a photo of your cat in your home you might find it near that location on the map, or you might not. Every cat we visualize could be accessed just as easily by searching popular photo sharing websites. So, no, we do not know where your cat lives, nor do we care.
We set out on this adventure with a mission in mind: to point out the ease of access to data and photos on the web. We sought to showcase how readily available social media users’ information and snapshots are to the general public.
Support for this project was provided by: