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Archive personal geopresence as GeoJSON.
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One of my longtime interests has been “personal telemetry,” or, in the current vogue, “the quantified self.” Since my early involvement with the Plazes project I’ve had a particular interest in “geopresence” – the record of where I’ve been, when. My breadcrumbs, in other words.

Over the years I’ve been dropping digital breadcrumbs in a variety of ways; for example:

  • 10,973 Plazes check-ins from 2004 to 2012.
  • 2,176 Foursquare check-ins from 2009 to present.
  • 6,245 Google Latitude records from 2010 to present.

I'm building tools to archive and visualize these breadcrumbs, and this PHP class, GeoArchive, is the first of them.

Using GeoArchive you can take Foursquare checkins, Plazes activities, Google Latitude and Google Location History traces, Openpaths traces, and geolocated Tweets and Flickr photos and convert them into standard GeoJSON.

GeoJSON is easy to parse, and is becoming a lingua franca of digital mapping tools: you can visualize GeoJSON files at, load them into QGIS and overlay them on Leaflet-powered maps.

Examples of Use

Here's a visualization, in QGIS, off all of my own geopresence traces over the past decade in Europe:


And here's a visualization, overlaid on a Bing satellite map in QGIS of my geopresence in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island over the same decade:


How To

The PHP class class.geoarchive.php is a Swiss Army knife for turning geolocation archives into GeoJSON. The code itself is well-documented; here are the details of how you can get the raw data that the class needs as input:



  • Append ?count=999999 to the end of the URL. The result will look something like this:
  • Visit this URL in your browser, and save the result as a local file, or use wget, like this:
wget "" -O 
  • Pass the path to this local file as the $input_filename parameter, like this:
$foursquare_kml = './foursquare.kml';
require_once 'class.geoarchive.php';
$ga = new GeoArchiveFoursquare('UTC', $foursquare_kml, 'foursquare.geojson');


You'll need to have saved an export of your Plazes data from Nokia when this option was made available before the service shutdown.

  • Pass location of the plazes_visited.json from the export as $input_filename_visited.
  • Pass location of the activities_created.json from the export as $input_filename_activities.

Like this:

$plazes_visited = './plazes_visited.json';
$plazes_activities = './activities_created.json';
$ga = new GeoArchivePlazes('UTC', $plazes_visited, $plazes_activities, 'plazes.geojson');


Geolocating your tweets is something you need to turn on in your client, so it's possible that either all or none or some of your tweets are geolocated.


  • Unzip the archive.
  • Set the value of $tweet_directory to the directory in the archived that holds JSON files of your tweets -- it's data/js/tweets in the ZIP file. Include the trailing slash.
$tweet_directory = 'twitter/tweets/data/js/tweets/';
$ga = new GeoArchiveTwitter('UTC', $tweet_directory, 'twitter.geojson');

Google Latitude

Google Latitude no longer operates, so you will need to have requested an archive of your traces before it shut down. Google's Location History service, however, uses the same export format and if you have Location History turned on for your Google account you can request a KML archive as follows:


  • Change the value of the startTime parameter to 0 - this allows you to get a complete archive, not just 30 days worth; the link will look something like this:
  • Visit this URL in your browser, and save the result as a local file, or use wget, like this:
wget "" -O googlelatitude.kml
  • Pass path to this local file as the $input_filename parameter.
$google_location_history_kml = './google-latitude-archive.kml';
$ga = new GeoArchiveGoogleLatitude('UTC', $google_location_history_kml, 'googlelatitude.geojson');


  • Login to
  • Under "Download my data", click JSON.


  • Save the result as a local file.
  • Pass the path to this local file as the $input_filename parameter.
$openpaths_json = './openpaths_ruk.json';
$ga = new GeoArchiveOpenpaths('UTC', $openpaths_json, '/tmp/openpaths.geojson');


Depending on your camera, it's possible that some or all of your Flickr photos have geolocation data attached to them.

Right now the process of getting this information out of Flickr is more complicated that it should be, involves some work on your part, and requires Python.

  • You'll need to use the Open Photos Flickr export script, which is well-documented. Although it's intended to support Open Photos it does exactly what we need: grabs JSON data about Flickr photos.
  • Follow the instructions in the README for that script, but before you run the fetch script, change the reference to flickr.people_getPhotos to photos_getWithGeoData. Change:
photos_resp = flickr.people_getPhotos(user_id=user_id, per_page=per_page, page=page, extras='original_format,tags,geo,url_o,url_b,url_c,url_z,date_upload,date_taken,license,description')

to this:

photos_resp = photos_getWithGeoData(user_id=user_id, per_page=per_page, page=page, extras='original_format,tags,geo,url_o,url_b,url_c,url_z,date_upload,date_taken,license,description')
  • Run the fetch script, then pass the path to the directory where the JSON files were exported as the $flickr_directory parameter. Include the trailing slash.
$flickr_directory = './fetched/';
require_once 'class.geoarchive.php';
$ga = new GeoArchiveFlickr('UTC', $flickr_directory, 'flickr.geojson');


  • Login to
  • Find the link for "Export Data".
  • Save the result as a local file and unzip, then unzip the file.
  • Pass the path to the full places.geojson file as the $input_filename parameter - in the ZIP archive it's under geojson/full/places.geojson
$moves_json = './places.geojson';
$ga = new GeoArchiveMoves('UTC', $moves_json, 'moves.geojson');
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