Chasing Double Rainbows

Chasing Double Rainbows

Project Details

Timeframe: October – December 2014
Skills: Front-end and back-end development, visual design, concept and ideation
Technical Implementation:
Front-End: HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, D3.js
Back-End: Node.js, Express.js, MongoDB, Instagram API, Google Geocoding API

The Creator’s Project calls it a, “tasteful remix of an aging meme, but also a novel way to experience an Instagram feed.”
-Instagram’s Most Freakout-Worthy Double Rainbows Get Mapped, December 29, 2014

In 2010, Paul “Bear” Vasquez captured the world with a YouTube video proclaiming his joy for double rainbows. Today, that same video has been viewed over 40 million times. Instagram users around the world take hundreds of photos of double rainbows everyday. Instagram has nearly 400,000 public posts tagged #doublerainbow.

Using the Instagram API, Chasing Double Rainbows shows users where double rainbow photos have been posted in the past day around the world, and draws a whimsical “double rainbow” arc between consecutive photos connecting users who saw a double rainbow closest in time to each other. The visualization shows a fraction of the photos actually taken by Instagram users as it only tracks photos with geo-tags. Chasing Double Rainbows is neither a scientific, nor serious visualization, but a facetious data art project celebrating the universal fascination created by the sighting of a double rainbow.

In a given 24-hour period, depending on rainy weather conditions world-wide and luck, Chasing Double Rainbows visualizes anywhere between 30 – 300 geo-tagged photographs. When a user references Paul Vasquez’s influential video with the hashtag #whatdoesitmean or #alltheway, an audio sample from the video is triggered and played.

A double rainbow is an optical illusion in which two rainbows are seen. The illusion is created by the reflection of two rainbows in a rain droplet, the second rainbow’s colors are inverted and fainter than the first rainbow. Two individuals standing in a different location do not see the same rainbow but see two different rainbows.

Many thanks to ITP Residents Sam Slover and Surya Mattu who were instrumental in the development of this visualization.

Date:December 13, 2014

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