Six billion tweets: the "most detailed tweet map ever"

Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2016 11:17 am
If you like maps, this one by mapping master Eric Fischer is a doozy:

Six billion tweets

With so much data, of course there is a tendency for a map like this to just become another proxy for a population density map. That's why the most interest parts are where the map deviates from what you'd expect on a density map. For example, on a macro level, why are there so few tweets showing in Germany, and so many in The Netherlands? Is it simply that Twitter is so much more popular in the one country than the other? Or do the famously privacy-loving Germans make sure not to geo-tag their tweets as much? On a micro level, it was funny for me to see how the brightest globs of green in my neighbourhood are located in popular night clubs and youth hostels.

If you're interested in the really wonky stuff about how maps like these are created, this accompanying article by Fischer is worth reading. He delves into lots of intriguing methodological issues.

I remember Eric Fischer from the awesome dot maps he was posting on Flickr five-six years ago, for example doing the whole race dot map thing for major cities years before Dustin Cable at the Weldon Cooper Center did it more comprehensively for the whole country. Fischer's "Locals and Tourists" maps of geotagged photos were great fun and a big success too. He later did the Locals & Tourists thing for tweets as well.

Other, later, Fischer classics also include 2013 New York City taxi trips and Languages on Twitter.

Back when Fischer and his colleagues had still "only" mapped out 3 billion, rather than the current 6 billion tweets (around 2013, I think), they also broke down a map for the 280 million tweets that were both geo-tagged and included information about which mobile device they were posted from. That was fun because you could see geographic patterns in the relative popularity of iPhones Androids and Blackberries. In New York City, zooming in enough gets you to see all the Blackberries in downtown Manhattan. In the Netherlands, there was a definite contrast between iPhone dominance in urban cores vs lots of Androids in the provinces.
Robert Gentel
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2016 11:42 am
It is more clustered than I had expected, interesting!
0 Replies
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2016 02:25 pm
I zoomed down to my neighborhood and noticed that the food court at the mall is pretty bright as is the local high school and university. The one I found really interesting was the major intersections. It looks like people are tweeting while waiting on traffic lights.
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2016 03:40 pm
My son lives in a university town up in the mountains. I can find it by looking for the bright group of tweets surrounded by complete darkness.
0 Replies
cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2016 07:07 pm
Interesting. I live in Sunnyvale, and I can approximate where our house is.
Thanks for sharing.
0 Replies

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