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Digital face of Saint-Petersburg

Pictures in the social network sites Instagram provide many personal information: who are friends of you, what do you eat, how do you prefer to relax and so on. People pictorialize the surrounding, in particular, the city environment. The participants of Summer School «Digital Traces I: Meta-Morphologies of St. Petersburg» made an attempt to analyze in which way city folk  construct the digital “face” of city in their own Instagram-accounts.

Oleg Nagornyi and Yuri Rykov took the part in international summer school «Digital Traces I: Meta-Morphologies of St. Petersburg» held 17-30 august in European University in assistance with Center for Science and Technology Studies (STS Center)

The researchers were engaged in so-called “culture analytics” works. The term “culture analytics” belongs to Lev Manovich and means the analysis of big datasets of visual content extracted from contemporary digital media by means of computational methods.

The basis for main dataset was 420 000 posts (pictures) published by users from St.-Petersburg in social media site Instagram for the period from July 2014 to June 2015. The first part of school consisted of seminars devoted to methods of analysis of visual and geospatial content and to the on-sites researches.

By taking photos of suitable city objects Oleg and Yuri studied how the themes “Food”, “ Nature” and “Dwelling” are represented in city environment. In additional to this, they compared coffee prices in café on three main city avenues -Nevskiy, Ligovskiy and Moskovskiy - in order to find the lowest price.  Wrapping up the cases, the research-teams tried to elicit the latent structures of the city.

The LINIS researchers studied the relationship between pictures’ content and their geolocation. The main interest was focused on following questions: What kind of objects are picturized by users a lot and where exactly in the city? Is there the relationship between geographical and semantic closeness of diverse classes of pictures?

As result, it were detected, that the pictures of animals are resented more in dormitory districs. The Rubinstein Street was marked predominantly in the cluster “Drinks”, even more than Dumskaya Street! It was occurred also the correlation between geographical location (geo-tag of photo) and “topic” of pictures. Based on these results, it was written the collective article.