Case Study 2: Base Dataset

The base dataset is 383 images downloaded on March 2, 2019 from the official New York City Instagram account. This is the top-level social media account featured on the New York City government social media page (as of 3/2/19).

To obtain the images I used a Chrome extension called Downloader for Instagram.* The extension purports to download all posted images from an account. It downloaded 387 items in total, 4 of which were mp4 movie files, which I removed from the dataset.

This dataset of 383 images from the NYC official Instagram account is available as a .zip at the link below this section’s commentary and critique.

*”Downloader for Instagram™ (+ Upload photo)” version 5.0.70, offered by developer


Context and critique 

I do not have insight into the inner workings of this plug-in. It downloaded images of varying dimensions, which is consistent with the different maximum resolutions allowed on Instagram at different times. I spot checked the dimensions of a sample of downloaded images against the dimensions listed in my browser and confirmed that they matched.

Of note for anyone who downloads this data: there is something unusual going on with the way Instagram encodes JPEGs that interferes with some operations. They cannot, for instance, be placed in an InDesign file without opening and resaving. I’ve encountered this when downloading my own Instagram data through their sanctioned tool as well. I am providing the images as-downloaded, so another user may encounter the same issues with needing to resave depending on desired use.



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