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Mapping project catalogs Instagram sunrises from around the world

Billy Steele
05.22.15
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Have you noticed the wealth of sunrise and sunset photos on Instagram? Michelle Chandra certainly has, and her project offers a look at the sun's activity around the world in real time. "All Our Suns" gathers snapshots upload with either the #sunrise or #sunset hashtag, using the posts to populate a set of data-driven maps. Two of the crowdsourced cartography pieces catalog every image that's uploaded during the course of a 24-hour period -- one for sunrises and one for sunsets based on a user's location. What's more, you can click on a location marker to view the photo. A third map notes times when two people are posting at the same time, with one updating the beginning and the other observing the end of a day. The whole thing is a study on how our lives literally revolve around the sun and how social networks illustrate time as a never-ending loop.

The maps are part of "All Our Yesterdays:" a larger examination of Instagram's role in connecting people around the world become and how photographs provide an avenue for that interaction. "Instagram users who chase the sun with their cameras testify to the sun's ceaseless grip on our lives," Chandra writes. "Since antiquity we have followed the path of the sun, the moon, and the stars to track the passing of time."

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