San Francisco's New Cartography

Sense Networks studies the movement of people by tracking the data generated by their mobile phones

Map: Sense computers create a map of the city for each hour of the week. Common behaviors generate their own colors--but the computer has no idea what they mean.

Color: Streets full of rush-hour activity may be color-coded green during that time. Areas where people, such as tourists, seem to loll about are painted tan.

Change: The city's color pattern shifts over time. The spot of tan over Fisherman's Wharf spreads to other areas on weekends as more people behave like tourists.

Tribes: People who move through the same color sequences at similar times are grouped into behavioral tribes. Barhoppers may fit into the "Young & Edgy" tribe.

Target: Once Sense has a handle on where tribes spend their time, the company can help its customers use that information for focused marketing.

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