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Mapping Census Tweets

Steven Romalewski of the CUNY Mapping Service at the Center for Urban Research reached out after my previous post, which outlined UMapper’s approach for mapping real-time Twitter posts.  The CUNY Mapping Service recently launched the Census Hard to Count 2010 site, designed to assist in increasing participation in the 2010 census.  The application displays areas determined as “hard to count” areas (methodology here), along with several layers of thematic data.

The site was recently updated with a Twitter feed that uses the #census and #census2010 hashtags.  This serves two purposes: acts as a geo-referenced feed for census information, and also helps create increase communications between census advocates and citizens interested in the 2010 census.  It’s also a great real-world application of georeferenced Twitter data.   While the percentage of users that have enabled geotagging is estimated to be under 1%, the total number of users in the USA is estimated to be 18 million.  So even a small fraction of users still represents a large quantity of georeferenced data.  Also, geotagging is still relatively new to Twitter – so the adoption rate may stand to grow as more people turn it on, and as more client application add the option to geotag posts.

To display the Twitter feed in the Hard to Count site, you just need to click on the Twitter tab on the upper left portion of the application (see screenshot to the left).  You can also choose the hashtag you would like to display, and the relevant post are displayed on the side panel as well as on the map.  Additionally, you can select a post on the left and choose the “Show on Map” option.  This will display the selected side panel post on the map.

It’s great to see a real-world use case for geotagged micromedia data – so feel free to check it out at www.censushardtocountmaps.org.  Hopefully this is a sign of more to come!

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