Twitter Data Used to Map Human Travel Patterns

by Matt Ball on May 12, 2009

Just Landed – 36 Hours from blprnt on Vimeo.

What if you could geocode Twitter feeds for text strings like “just landed in” to determine the pattern of human travel for epidemiological research? That’s exactly the question that Jer Thorp, an educator and artist in Vancouver, Canada, asked himself. He set out to solve the problem by using Twitter’s search API and MetaCarta‘s APIs to extract longitude and latitude and hooking it up to Processing for visualization.

Read this Blog post for details on his methodology and results. The accompanying animated video of air travel that I embedded above is a cool product from his work. A compelling takeaway from this is that it was all done using online data and tools, by a programmer that was interested in exploring the pattern of social networking posts. Geographic visualization is becoming more ubiquitous with open APIs and online processing and visualization tools, and this is just the start.

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