JetPac City Guides is a new iPhone app that can analyze Canadian cities and rank them in terms of their residence’s happiness. The app has listed the top 25 cities in Canada, but Ottawa, our nation’s capital, is not even close to the top of the list.
JetPac City Guides is able to gather information about particular places by analyzing millions of photos on the web, including those on Instagram.
Julian Green, the co-founder and chief executive of the company behind this app, says that by analyzing the photos pixel-by-pixel, they are able to identify who is smiling and give them a score out of 100. A small grin may earn you 30 points, while a really wide smile can earn you 70 points or more.
Ottawa came in as the 18th happiest place in Canada, while Gatineau finished at a more respectable fourth place. Green said:
“We do image processing on the Instagram photos to be able to pull out things that are interesting for people. The happiness index is one of them.”
Kingston topped the list with a “smile score” of 40.2, while Niagara-on-the-Lake is on the bottom of the list with a score of 17.7. According to the app the happiest cities in Canada, after Kingston, are Regina, Quebec City, Gatineau, and Saskatoon. A post on the company’s Tumblr page said:
“It looks like the secret to finding happiness in Canada is either speaking French, being in Saskatchewan or being a student in Ontario.”
The bottom five cities in Canada according to the app are: Whistler, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The app can only analyze photos that have been geo-tagged with a users location. Green says that approximately 16 billion photos on Instagram are geo-tagged. He also points out some cultural limitations associated with analyzing photos to determine how happy people are:
“Germans tend not to smile as much, and the English can be a bit tight-lipped.”
Measuring a person’s happiness is an inexact science, and this is a new and innovative approach on tackling the problem.
“We think this measure might be a pretty good one because a smile really does have a relationship to how happy you are. It’s tough to fake across hundreds of millions of photos.”
JetPac has also ranked the top 50 U.S. cities with St. Louis coming in on top scoring 54.7 points. Ironically, Anaheim, which calls itself the happiest place on Earth, was ranked 50th.
[via Ottawa Citizen]