I Know Where Your Cat Lives

Mapping every cat image using geo-location data

#Privacy

Tue, Aug 5th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

By searching for cat tagged images on Flickr, Twitpic, Instagram, and a few others, and using the geolocation info embedded in the metadata, Owen Mundy, an artist, designer, and programmer who investigates public space and its relationship to data, created the I Know Where Your Cat Lives website. The site showcases plenty of cute cat pictures, making it ridiculously obvious just how anyone can grab geolocation tagged images and figured out where you are. Above, downtown Toronto.

I Know Where Your Cat Lives is a data experiment that visualizes a sample of 1 million public pics of cats on a world map, locating them 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 at Florida State University in order to represent the enormity of the data source.

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. This website doesn't visualize all of the cats on the net, only the ones that allow you to track where their owners have been.

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