Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Twitter creates incredible maps using billions of geotagged tweets

AppId is over the quota

Every tweet that hits Twitter has the option of including location data with it. These coordinates, which are of varying accuracy given the device and circumstances under which they were sent, can be used to add flavor to a tweet, or give its readers important context about the information contained in those 140 characters. If you are an engineer at Twitter though, you can round up all that location data and create something awesome with it.

Using the longitude and latitude information attached to billions of tweets the Visual Insights team at Twitter was able to create maps of where tweets were sent. And due to the sheer number of data points — again, billions of them — the result was a series of awesomely accurate maps of the population centers and thoroughfares of the tweeting world.

As seen in the gallery above, enough geotagged tweets are sent that we can get a really good idea of where people tweet from in certain countries, including all of Europe and the United States, and then the in major cities of Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Japan, Turkey, and Russia.

Where people tweet from seems to be roughly representative of where they live, work, and play (especially once you drop in a few million dots and zoom way out). That in turns gives us a good idea of tweet density and the popularity of Twitter usage. This means when looking at large map we see the Twitter centers, such as Paris, as well as the spiderweb of arteries (suburbs, highways, and railways) emerging from those places. The method of creation might seem roundabout, about the end result couldn’t be more simple.

Interestingly, there are a large number of seemingly randomly placed data points in the middle of the world’s bodies of waters. These don’t form the patterns you’d expect, but the points do give us some idea of people’s travel from one land mass to the next. This can best be seen in the map of New York City; lower Manhattan has no bridges going to its south west side, but it does have tunnels and boats. By looking closely at the full-size image you can clearly see downtown’s tunnels, piers, and boat lanes.

The full city list, as well as original images, is available on Flickr.

Now read: GoogleFaces: An algorithm that scans Maps for the Earth’s face-like structures

View the original article here


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