Try it out!

The "Datenschnorchel" is an interactive visualization of metadata, using data of social media accounts. If you want to know what Facebook, for example, knows about you - where you live, or where you work - although you never added these personal information into your profile, you can try the Datenschnorchel-WebApp!


How to use

  1. Start the Datenschnorchel
  2. Click on the Facebook icon in the right upper corner
  3. Insert your Facebook account information
  4. Facebook will notice you about the app needing acces to your account information
  5. Accept the notification
  6. You are now able to browse through your metadata!

Privacy policy

We collect none of the data provided by Facebook for your account. Our server does not even get the data, because it is collected, analyzed and processed by your browser, locally, on your machine only.

We only collect anonymized visitor statistics on this page, but not inside the WebApp.

Furthermore, to visualize the metadata, the "Datenschnorchel" uses the Google Maps API. By using the WebApp, you therefore agree to Google's Privacy Policy.

Please note: you should revoke the App permissions on your Facebook account as soon as you are finished using the "Datenschnorchel", to avoid abuse. Here is how you do that:

  1. Go on and log in
  2. Go to settings (click on the little arrow on the far right of the blue bar on the top)
  3. Select on "Apps" on the left
  4. Remove "Datenschnorchel" (click on the X)
  5. You are done!

Idea of the Datenschnorchel

"Datenschnorchel" (English: "data snorkel") is an interactive visualisation of metadata. The name comes from the German expression "Daten abschnorcheln", which is used for the interception of data.

Concerning the data retention in Germany and the global surveillance disclosures published with the help of Edward Snowden in 2013, the term metadata was used to appease concerned users. Metadata does not include the content of communication (e.g. the text in a letter) but contains the information “who communicates at what time, where and with whom” (e.g. the letter’s envelope).

The privacy and safety of users was declared safe and protected by government and intelligence agencies because no actual content is retained.

This argumentation did soothe many people because metadata is a very abstract construct. But the truth is that metadata can, in fact, reveal most accurate and private details of a persons life and behaviour.

With the Datenschnorchel we want to let everyone experience what metadata can reveal about a persons daily life - by using own data from social network accounts.

Our tool is still being implemented but it already works with Facebook accounts. Integrating other social networks such as Google+ or Twitter is planned.

Furthermore we proudly announce that the Datenschnorchel design recently won the Gold award from the International Institute for Information Design (IIID) in the category "student work".


People using the visualisation can learn what metadata reveals about them - using data from their own social network accounts. Those networks are used to provide the following data types for the visualisation: Who? When? Where? With whom? How long? Analysing this data, some facts about the user can be assumed: Residence, workplace, leisure activities and relationships. We can cluster these information into two groups: location-based information and contact-based information. The first group is our focus and is designed with a map.

The map, being the most important view, is shown in a circle. This should give the user an impression of "looking through a keyhole", as if he is spying on himself.

Icons of the respective facts (residence, work, ..) are placed on the map and can be clicked for further information. Locations which are not shown in the current map frame are displayed at the border of the circle, providing a compass-like navigation. It is also possible to manually zoom in and out.

It is possible to log in with more than one social network account so that the Datenschnorchel can combine additional data and present the user a more detailed view of his behaviour (not implemented yet).

Additionally, the contact-based information can be activated by clicking the "contacts" button. The Datenschnorchel will give the user his 5 "best friends" by counting the amount of communication between the user and other users.


Take a look! This video shows the Datenschnorchel in action.


Sina Busch

Martin Kolb

Carsten Meier


Carsten Meier
Taunusstraße 19
65451 Kelsterbach
The Datenschnorchel project was developed in 2014 during the workshop "Data Visualisation" at the University of Applied Sciences Augsburg.