Computer scientists at Russian university have developed a way to mine Instagram data to offer visitors a more authentic travel experience.
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The idea behind the computer algorithm, which was developed at the ITMO University in Saint Petersburg, and then published in the Procedia Computer Science journal, is to allow tourists to find the places of interest that are most popular with locals based on their Instagram posts.
To begin with, the development team analyzed every public Instagram post uploaded by people local to Saint Petersburg, listing the cafés, restaurants and areas that they mostly frequent. To ensure that as few tourists as possible would be included in the posts, the team picked the two months of the year with the least number of tourists: February and November. They found that tourists mostly posted from the centre of the city, while locals’ geotags were scattered throughout it. The developers hope that the algorithm can now be transferred to any city to help show tourists the best places to go for food, drink and entertainment.
There are plenty of other people using Instagram in clever and unique ways. In Brazil, people can swipe up when they see restaurant food they like to have it delivered to them, and Jetpac was a similar app that scanned public Instagram photos and then compile them into visual travel guides. What other ways could Instagram be used to help businesses?