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Global Phone Calls

How the world is connected across large distances has recently be shown by projects analysing phone calls and mapping origin and destination. The MIT SensableCity Lab has done some work, Barabasi and his colleagues worked on it and also Jon Reades from CASA.

The latest work by MIT and UCL, above as circulated a couple of weeks ago, has redrawn the regions of Britain according to phone calls. The maps result from the analysis of a large phone data set covering the whole of the UK.

These large data sets are all held by the phone companies together with presumably a whole lote more interesting stuff. It is rather difficult and complicated to handle and only accessible for a few people.

However with the rise of apps on smart phones such data sets are generated by small independant companies. FTFun is one of them. They have developed an app for the iPhone focusing on facetime. Facetime was introduced by Apple with the release of the iPhone 4 and allows people to see one another during the phone call. These video calls are made possible by a second camera on the front of the iPhone 4. This works however only between two users of an iPhone 4. FTFun have developed a desktop app to allow other users to join in these video calls without the need of an iPhone 4.

As a byproduct the company sits on a data pool of location based connection information. At the beginning of the year they have decided to make some of it available as KML files viewable in Google Maps or Google Earth.

The company so far has 11k users and 185766 face time calls in the last four month since the release of iPhone 4. The data is release in three sets, the past three hours, yesterdays data and live data updated every two or so minutes. Below you can see a map showing the connections over the past three hours of the day.

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Found via Geo2web.