Twitter streams are curious things, especially the spatial data part. I’ve been using Tweepy to collect tweets from the public timeline and what did I discover? Tweets can have up to three different spatial references: “coordinates”, “geo” and “place”. I’ll still have to do some more reading on how to interpret these different attributes.
For now, I have been using “coordinates” to explore the contents of a stream which was collected over a period of five hours using
for global coverage. In the video, each georeferenced tweet produces a new dot on the map and if the user’s coordinates change, a blue arrow is drawn:
While pretty, these long blue arrows seem rather suspicious. I’ve only been monitoring the stream for around five hours. Any cross-Atlantic would take longer than that. I’m either misinterpreting the tweets or these coordinates are fake. Seems like it is time to dive deeper into the data.