Smelly maps: the digital life of urban smellscapes

Quercia, D., Schifanella, R., Aiello, L. and McLean, K. (2015) Smelly maps: the digital life of urban smellscapes. In: ICWSM 15: Ninth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 26th-29th May, 2015, Oxford.

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Smell has a huge influence over how we perceive places. Despite its importance, smell has been crucially overlooked by urban planners and scientists alike, not least because it is difficult to record and analyze at scale. One of the authors of this paper has ventured out in the urban world and conducted ``smellwalks'' in a variety of cities: participants were exposed to a range of different smellscapes and asked to record their experiences. As a result, smell-related words have been collected and classified, creating the first dictionary for urban smell. Here we explore the possibility of using social media data to reliably map the smells of entire cities. To this end, for both Barcelona and London, we collect geo-referenced picture tags from Flickr and Instagram, and geo-referenced tweets from Twitter. We match those tags and tweets with the words in the smell dictionary. We find that smell-related words are best classified in ten categories. We also find that specific categories (e.g., industry, transport, cleaning) correlate with governmental air quality indicators, adding validity to our study.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GA Mathematical geography. Cartography > GA0101 Cartography
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Centre for Practice-Based Research in the Arts
Depositing User: Ms Kate McLean
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2015 09:08
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2018 14:12

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00