For most people, data is easier to understand when you can visualize it. Foursquare stores data about our location each time we check in, but without a way to put it on the map, it’s hard to relate to that data or share it with other people. In the past, we’ve looked at two ways of getting your foursquare checkin data on a map, but now there are three new services that offer an easy way to visualize your checkins.
Tripline is a new site aimed at helping travelers share the stories of their trips. It’s easy for foursquare users to get started; you can import your checkins directly to a map. Once the places you’ve visited are on the map, you can add photos (from Facebook or Flickr) and stories to each stop along the way. You can share a link with friends or embed the map on your own site (like the one above).
Unfortunately the site currently only imports your 15 most recent foursquare checkins, so if your trip was more than a few days, you might be out of luck. Ideally, it would be nice if you could import checkins from a range of dates to make sure you capture the entire trip.
UPDATE (8/23/10): Tripline has released an update that allows you to import all your foursquare checkins instead of just the 15 most recent.
Weeplaces creates a nice looking map of your foursquare checkins. Yellow lines zip from point to point and the dots at each venue grow larger the more times you check in. A list at the top lets you zoom the map automatically to different towns. You can easily share a link to your map with your Facebook or Twitter friends. Clicking a venue takes you to a venue detail page where you can ask questions about the venue and see a list of other Weeplaces users who’ve checked in there.
While not as visually impressive as Tripline or Weeplaces, 4sqMaps offers several useful functions. Along with plotting your checkins on a Google Map, you can also see your friends’ locations and all the places you’re currently the mayor. Clicking one of your friends’ checkins in the column on the left zooms to that location automatically.
4sqMaps also provides static images that you can embed on your blog or website. You can choose from a map of your mayorships, your most recent checkin location or a customizable matrix of your foursquare badges.
Bringing it all together
While showing your foursquare checkins on a map is a neat trick, ultimately it’s not very exciting when you share it with other people. What I want is a map that combines my foursquare checkins with tweets, status updates, photos and videos that I can share with my friends and family. I want a map that tells a story. Tripline is getting very close to this goal, while Weeplaces and 4sqmaps are one trick ponies.
What’s your favorite way to visualize your foursquare checkins?