Visualising Social Media: Facebook Checkins

By sjg / Posted on 06 June 2012

You may or may not realise but most social media companies have geo-location at the heart of there services. Facebook and foursquare have checkins, Twitter allows users to geotag their tweets and Google Latitude and Apple’s Find my friend, with permission, all track your location and send it back for analysis. Have you ever wondered what happens to all that data or considered what the bigger picture looks like?

Well the researchers at Facebook’s Data Team have released some fantastic visualisations of global checkins collected by their 900 million users. By joining this locational data with other information such as age, political affiliation or even distances between checkins, the researchers can start to understand our travel patterns or even the distrubtion of certain demographic groups.

At CASA we have looked at the geo-located tweets of London from Twitter data and also James Cheshire, over at spatialanalysis.co.uk, and I have looked at the language distribution of London based on Twitter data. This certainly is a hot topic at the moment and proves just what can be done with this type of crowd sourced data.

You can read more about the process of making these image and even have a look at higher quality versions of the maps over at the Facebook’s Data Team blog.





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