On Broadway - a new interactive urban data visualization from Selfiecity team

The interactive installation and web application On Broadway represents life in the 21st-century city through a compilation of images and data covering the 13 miles of Broadway that span Manhattan. The result is a new type of city view, created from the activities and media shared by hundreds of thousands of people.

On Broadway installation is currently on view in New York Public Library as part of the exhibition Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography. The exhibition will be opened until January 3, 2016. The installation uses a 46-inch multi-touch monitor.

ON BROADWAY from Moritz Stefaner on Vimeo.

video showing interaction with On Broadway

A photo of the part of On Broadway installation in New York Public Library

Media and web coverage:

Image and data used in the project include:

660,000 Instagram photos shared along Broadway during six months in 2014
Twitter posts with images for the same period
over 8 million Foursquare check-ins (2009-2014)
22 million taxi pickups and drop-offs (2013)
selected economic indicators for the parts of NYC from US Census Bureau (2013).


Daniel Goddemeyer, Moritz Stefaner, Dominikus Baur, Lev Manovich.


Members of Software Studies Initiative: Mehrdad Yazdani, Jay Chow;
Brynn Shepherd and Leah Meisterlin;
PhD students at The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY): Agustin Indaco (Economics), Michelle Morales (Computational Linguistics), Emanuel Moss (Anthropology), Alise Tifentale (Art History).

Interactive application:
The app offering similar experience and functions as the installation version is available from project web site: http://on-broadway.nyc/app/

Creating On Broadway:

Today companies, government agencies and other organizations collect massive data about the cities. This data is used in many ways invisible to us. At the same time, many cities make available some of their datasets and sponsor hackathons to encourage creation of useful apps using this data. Our project is supportive of the ideas to give citizens back their data, but it takes a unique approach to this goal. Using ‘On Broadway’ interactive interface, citizens can navigate their city made from hundreds of millions of data points and social media images they have shared.

How we can best represent a "data city"? We did not want to show the data in a conventional way as graphs and numbers. We also did not want to use another convention of showing spatial data – a map. The result of our explorations is "On Broadway": a visually rich image-centric interface, where numbers play only a secondary role, and no maps are used. The project proposes a new visual metaphor for thinking about the city: a vertical stack of image and data layers. There are 13 such layers in the project, all aligned to locations along Broadway. Using our unique interface (available as the online application and as a version for a large interactive multi-touch screen, currently installed at New York Public Library), you can see all data at once, or zoom and follow Broadway block by block.

Project updates and new research using the datasets we assembled for On Broadway will be published here as blog posts and as articles in academic journals.

A screenshot from the interactive application showing all Broadway view

A screenshot from the interactive application showing a closeup view