• Cameras today, specifically smartphone cameras, typically record the GPS coordinates and timestamp when taking images. This data is added to the image file and is available to others when the image is posted on a public site, like Flickr.
  • The researchers gathered GPS and timestamp data from the photos of 16,000 Flickr users in the United Kingdom, a total of 8 million images. Also, they utilized Lévy flight, a theory of the nature of human travel.
  • They developed an algorithm from the data collection that was able to predict future movements of entire groups of people that was 92% similar to the actual national travel patterns taken by UK government surveys. The algorithm can also be used to predict the where an individual camera is at any given time based on past patterns.

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