We have been working hard here at CASA lately, building tools to collect, analyse and visualise different data sets from all over the web. One piece of software that has proven quite popular over the past few months is our internal Twitter Collector.
The collector mines Twitter for tweets inside a geographical radius either with a specified hash tag, for example #CASA, or just a plain geographical latitude/longitudinal search. This data can then be analysed in a variety of different ways from aggregating the data into the form of heat maps to sentiment analysis of individual tweets. The collector actually also powers and collects data for both our digital and analogue Tweet-o-Meters.
Oliver O’Brien and I have used the data collected over a 3 week period during the months of February and March to create an overview of social media activity in the Greater London area for the Royal Mail magazine for marketers, Contact. The heat map marks the intensity of 200,000 tweets from a 30km radius from the geographical center of London. Some interesting findings from this Twitter map were the appearance of roadwork traffic in the Rickmansworth area and the totally empty parks of Hampstead Heath, Hyde Park and Richmond Park.
We are quite excited, not only about the publication of this map, but also the implications of this research as it fuses together our social media mining and our interests in big data. The fact that we can pinpoint events and geographical areas just by mining Twitter data is very powerful indeed and we have only just scratched the surface of this fascinating research topic.