I’ve been using FourSquare for a few months now, I’m interested in it primarily because it uses an interesting method for gathering geographic data (or POI’s): the addition of a gaming element i.e. rewarding users for adding venues and frequenting places with points, badges and ‘Mayorships’
This is in contrast to the crowdsourcing element used by OpenStreetMap which is perhaps more altruistic, offering only the satisfaction that comes from making an excellent map a fraction better.
I have been wondering recently about the number of users that FourSquare has in Ireland. The service has reportedly hit 3 million users globally. The service’s API has rate limits which restricts the download of POI information, and currently there is no way to extract information about the number of users in a particular country. (If you find a way to generate this information please let me know)
Last Saturday night I was at Lansdowne Road for the Leinster v Munster Rugby Match.
Aviva Stadium Lansdowne Road
I checked in on FourSquare and noted that 56 other people had done likewise. The attendance at the match was reported as 50,645 (a record for a Magners League Match) Even allowing for the fact that the crowd at the match might not be entirely representative of the nation (certainly not with tickets priced at Eur50 and up) it is indicative of the penetration level of the service. If we extrapolate the 0.1% checkin rate to the entire population of Ireland we arrive at an estimated total of 4,500 users in Ireland. The real number is probably significantly lower than that, as the matchgoing demographic almost certainly has higher than average levels of smartphone penetration and interest in social networking than the population as a whole.
It’ll be interesting to compare these numbers with upcoming Soccer Internationals and Heineken Cup / Six Nations matches in Lansdowne (Anybody got spare tickets for those?
As an aside, how many checkins are these users performing? I travelled to Cork at the end of July and noted that Heuston Station had 1,100 checkins at the time. As of today, 10 weeks later, that number is now 1,552, which works out at about 40 checkins per week in this venue, which is a popular one on FourSquare.
And which is Ireland’s most checked-into venue? I think it might be Dublin Airport, with 4,177 checkins.
You can see my FourSquare page here: http://foursquare.com/user/manaboutcouch
UPDATE: April 2011.
I didn’t make it to Lansdowne for the Leinster v Leicester match last night, but 52,000 people did, and a number of them checked in on FourSquare:
Strangely enough it seems that pretty much exactly the same number of people checked in last October as did last night. We need to allow for the fact that a fair number of last night’s crowd were English and may not have wanted to run up a charge for roaming data on their phone, but I think this is a useful data point. It indicates to me that FourSquare growth is pretty flat here in Ireland – but it’s only a single data point and should be taken with a huge grain of salt.