The Advanced Fitbit User 18M Steps

fitbitErnesto Ramirez chronicles his 18 million steps over 5 years using a FitBit. He is a PhD looking for personal meaning through personal data. He is “not a typical user”. Ernesto used R graphics and ggplot2. His scripts and data are on Github.

From February 27, 2011 to June 21, 2016 I’ve tracked a total of 18,293,229 steps with Fitbit. I wanted to work on my data analysis and visualization skills so I started to explore this trove of data. What follows is a series of visualizations that start to give some context and insight into my physical activity and overall behavior.



So, it turns out I’m not the best at hitting 10,000 steps. When you account for the days I didn’t wear a Fitbit at all, I still only hit 10,000 on 53.4% of days. This year looks to have been especially bad (look at all those black bars!), and I’m going to blame that on focusing on completing my dissertation — ironic as my research was on how people use Fitbits.



This scatterplot makes it a lot easier to see some different activity patterns. Mostly, I tend to run (steps per minute > 150) in the evenings and my regular walking speed is right around 110–115 steps per minute. Pretty neat!


This has only scratched the surface of the data that is available. I haven’t even touched any of the intensity data, or matched data sets from other services like Moves or Strava. I’m going to continue plugging away and as I generate more visualizations I’ll update this post with links.


All data used in this post was gathered through Fitabase. Fitabase is a data management and analysis platform used by researchers around the world to incorporate wearables into their research projects. If you’re thinking about using wearables or consumer tools for research and don’t want to mess with APIs give them a holler. They’re great. Many thanks to Aaron Coleman and his team.


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 35,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — Chip inventories rise as demand falls

Wearables — How to attach a battery to your next wearables project

Electronics — Check out this shorthand shortcut

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: CircuitPython 8.0 RC 1 Out, Board Guides, and Much More! #CircuitPython #Python @ThePSF @micropython @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — 2022 in Recap!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — JP’s Product Pick of the Week — 4pm Eastern TODAY! 1/31/23 @adafruit #adafruit #newproductpick

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.