Social media: The Wild West of behavioural data collection http://newsletter.travelmanitoba.com/newsletter_redirect.asp?link_id=7082&&utm_medium=email&topage=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Etheglobeandmail%2Ecom%2Ftechnology%2Ftech%2Dnews%2Fsocial%2Dmedia%2Dthe%2Dwild%2Dwest%2Dof%2Dbehavioural%2Ddata%2Dcollection%2Farticle19983168%2F
When tech company Strava was founded in 2009 it had a simple mission - to help cyclists and runners keep track of their activities.
It didn't take long, however, for an entirely different group of customers to take an interest. San Francisco-based Strava has received so many requests for its user data that it now runs a secondary business selling anonymized cycling data to municipalities and other groups looking to better understand how and why local cyclists choose the routes they do. The Oregon Department of Transportation, for example, paid $20,000 last year for a data set that included information about 400,000 trips made by 35,000 Oregon cyclists in 2013.
A simple activity-tracker app, it appears, has collected enough data from its users to help decipher one of the great modern-day urban planning mysteries.