Mapping the Twitters

Twitter heat map of NYC

The people over at Trendsmap are really into mapping Twitter data. So, they’ve put together a series of visualizations for geo-tagged tweets from several cities around the world. It’s pretty interesting to see how clearly the infrastructure of the city comes out of this data, especially the streets (apparently a lot of people tweet while driving. Dexter McCluster says no.).

In this heatmap of Amsterdam, it becomes really clear how polycentric the city is, as well how distinct the major rail routes are (I’m assuming you can’t really tweet while riding a bike).

What’s really interesting is when you start zooming in. This is Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta.

I wonder what this could tell us about urban design and planning? Could we see where people tend to congregate and know how better to allocate resources? Could you somehow filter the data to know when people are complaining about how crappy that part of the city is, or how wonderful they think it is? Could you discover previously unknown spots that might be candidates for intervention? It’s a bit Big Brother, I know, but it could still be useful information. No one has to geo-tag their tweets, anyway. It’s kind of dumb. But it makes for cool maps.

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