Monday, 28 June 2010

New City Landscapes - Interactive Tweetography Maps


Over the past few months we have been harvesting geospatial data from Twitter with the aim of creating a series of new city maps based on Twitter data. Via a radius of 30km around New York, London, Paris, Munich we have collated the number of Tweets and created our New City Landscape Maps.

New York New City Landscape

Image by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / New York New City Landscape -Use the Google Maps style zoom function in the top right corner to zoom into the map and explore it in detail. Explore areas you know close up and find new locations you have never heard of. Click HERE for a full screen view.

The highest New York point is the Time Square Peak. It sits within a ridge running down the lengt of Manhattan. It drops of in the south shortly after Chinatown Head and Little Italy Side. A second group of mountains are location around the Franklin Avenue Rock and a third in the Jamaica area.

The maps were created using our Tweet-O-Meter, in association with DigitalUrban and coded by Steven Gray, this New City Landscape represents location based twitter activity.

Image by DigitalUrban / Screenshot of the Tweet-O-Meter
Image by DigitalUrban / Screenshot of the Tweet-O-Meter showing New York, London, Paris and Munich.

The data is derived from tweets sent via a mobile device that includes the location at the time of sending the message. The contours correspond to the density of tweets, the mountains rise over active locations and cliffs drop down in to calm valleys, flowing out to tweet deserts. Throughout the emerging landscape features have been renamed to reflect these conditions. Embedded below a zoomable version of London, created using CASA GM Image Cutter software software developed by Richard Milton, you can zoom in and pan around just as you would do on Google Maps.

London New City Landscape

Image by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / London New City Landscape - Use the Google Maps style zoom function in the top right corner to zoom into the map and explore it in detail. Explore areas you know close up and find new locations you have never heard of. Click HERE for a full screen view.

In this visualisation London does not show the normally characteristic East-West differentiation. Here it is a more North-South directed structure. The highest peak is Soho Mountain in the centre of London extending Eastward towards Liverpool Street.

Munich New City Landscape

Image by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / Munich New City Landscape -Use the Google Maps style zoom function in the top right corner to zoom into the map and explore it in detail. Explore areas you know close up and find new locations you have never heard of. Click HERE for a full screen view.

Paris New City Landscape

Image by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / Paris New City Landscape -Use the Google Maps style zoom function in the top right corner to zoom into the map and explore it in detail. Explore areas you know close up and find new locations you have never heard of. Click HERE for a full screen view. This map was created with the support of Annick Labeca.

‘New York, London, Paris, Munich everybody talk about Pop Musik’ – that was 1979 and the catch line by the group M. This was the start of the project, to mine what people are talking about in 2010. This has led to the creation of our New City Landscape maps.

Images of the maps can also be found on flickr. More cities are coming soon….

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

i would like to see this overlayed on a street network map

fan said...

Working on it. I am considering putting it on mapTube. This would allow to compare and explore with even more details.

phase.org said...

Great stuff, but could you take a look at the spelling of Victoria, Wimbledon, Streatham et al? Thanks!

fan said...

Phase, I wil look into it and change it. Thanks for the hint.

Jay said...

Fascinating images. What's the time-period for the data collection - is it all tweets over the 3-month period, or a snapshot of, say, an hour's activity at a particular time of day?

I'm curious about some of the patterns in London which aren't as I'd have expected. The maps show tweets sent from smartphones with geolocation on, which one would expect to correlate with relatively affluent populations who perhaps work in techie or media-oriented jobs. Yet the Old Street-Shoreditch area is surprisingly quiet, and Tottenham has more activity than Stokey or Islington.

Any thoughts as to why this is?

ankee said...

@Jay that's not Tottenham, that's Crouch End, probably the area with the highest density of media freelancers outside of Soho.

This makes me very happy, because I live there :D

Anonymous said...

This is just beautiful. I can't get enough spatial. @steveauthentic

fan said...

Jay - time period for this is one week.
The pattern as you point out does not follow the expected rules. We have to look into it in more detail, also in connection with travel and temporal aspect.

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sishort said...

Nice work on these illustrations.

Does anyone know how representative this data is of the overall Tweet universe? How many tweets out of all those sent actually come from geographically enabled smartphones?

fan said...

sishort - numbers, this is a very tricky question. The sort answer is the mobile clients make up for about 20%. However we don't really know what the total number of tweets is. We collect tweets location based, but we don't now how many tweets are sent without a location. The number I gave is based on tweets that include lat/long vs tweets that are geocoded via profile location. If you look at profiles you can find quite often 'sky' as the location for example, so difficult to locate. Plus there are a lot of mobile clients that do not include the location with the tweets sent, or private profiles.

felix said...

Have you compared these maps to population density maps?

Anonymous said...

Oeehhh! Can you make one for the complete Netherlands, weve been trending those topics like crazy (even though were a quite small nation) lately so I am curious which parts of Holland score best.

fan said...

felix, the population density is a tricky one. We are looking at central urban areas anyway, so it is dense. Then a lot of the peak areas will not have a lot of residence population, but work population and other will have retail or nightlife. So its a tricky one, but we are working on it.
anonymous, yes the Netherlands wold be great to do and as soon as we have the resource we'll look into it. Can you recommend some twitter hotspots? in the Netherlands?

Mark Griffin said...

Fascinating insights.

fan said: "also in connection with travel and temporal aspect."

Yes, maybe people have more time on their hands while waiting for transport or in bars etc. so places where people do a lot of that will feature high on the scale.

Pablo Estrada said...

This is very cool, nice work!

Do you only process tweets that are geo-tagged or do you also parse the user's profile to check if it has a location description? Many tweets are not geo-tagged, and most location descriptions are at the city-level (not coordinates).

Kathleen said...

it also seems likely that higher peaks are occurring in tourist/iconic areas, as people visiting the city tweet "I am at the Louvre!", etc.

Also, what is the 10%, 20%, etc designation in the map key? Seems counter-intuitive, as the lower values/colors are equal to the highest number of tweets.

fan said...

Kathleen, thanks for the comment. Regarding the tourists, yes in some locations this is right, but not in others. Especially in Paris for example te tourist locations are not very busy. In New York Time Square is a peak, but Central Park isn't. However I believe the max peaks do benefit from the tourists as one contributing group, but are made of overlaps between user groups. Also I believe there is another implication with the tourists in connection to the international roaming charges. There might be only a few foreign tourist willing to pay the relatively high cost for data usage abroad.
The highest peaks are the smallest areas hence the lowest percentage of the total covered by the darker green areas.

Karel B said...

Can you do something about the interface of this page?

If we scroll with a mouse wheel, and by doing so one of the maps comes under the mouse pointer, the function of the scroll wheel automagically changes to the map zoom. Bad design.

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Anonymous said...

Would be really useful to see the the spatial density of tweets over thae past few days that include keywords Egypt OR Tunisia OR Mubarak. These types of maps would demonstrate that political boundaries are becoming increasingly less important as the technology enables the free flow of information

fan said...

Thanks for the comment, yes we are looking into this and will have a Egypt, specifically Cairo, twitter map of the past week very soon online here. Stay tuned.
However since this will fall directly into this blocked period I am not sure how much there wil be , other than a sharp drop of in activity two days into recording twitter messages.

Anonymous said...

fan,

I posted the previous anon that you responded to (below) Can you direct us to a "How to" article? Specifically how are the geotagged tweets captured/downloaded? I see this a being a very important tool for understanding the pulse of the globe.


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fan said...

Thanks for the comment, yes we are looking into this and will have a Egypt, specifically Cairo, twitter map of the past week very soon online here. Stay tuned.

fan said...

I haven't got round to write up the "How to" yet. We only presented it in various talks and workshops. I will keep you posted on the progress. For specific questions just drop me an email.

Anonymous said...

fan said..

I too would rather discuss via e-mail, but there is no e-mail address listed on your blog page.

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I haven't got round to write up the "How to" yet. We only presented it in various talks and workshops. I will keep you posted on the progress. For specific questions just drop me an email.

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