April 30, 2012

Mapping #Kony2012 on Twitter (Part II)

Following on from our last post about mapping #Kony2012 on Twitter, we also wanted to offer up a map that shows the proportion of tweets from each country that made reference to the viral video or the LRA leader (or both).

We've already seen that most tweets referencing Kony were published from North America, and Western Europe, but this map tells a slightly different story. We now see that despite the very low total amount of content coming out of Sub-Saharan Africa (see the map below or read this post about where tweets come from), there is indeed a significant amount of focus on the Kony issue there.

But it remains that this is still a discussion that was largely taking place online in the Global North. While the top five countries in our sample (20% of all georeferenced tweets between March 5 and March 13, 2012) are: (1) USA; (2) Brasil; (3) Indonesia; (4) UK; (5) Mexico; and (6) Malaysia, the top five in terms of tweets that reference #Kony are: (1)USA; (2) UK; (3) Canada; (4) Brasil; and (5) Ireland.

In other words, we see that while Twitter itself contains a lot of voices from the South, the discussion of Kony and Invisible Children remained firmly in the North.

Below are also included a couple of maps showing the total number of tweets published during the same period:

April 26, 2012

Announcing SheepCamp

Thank you all for your interest in SheepCamp.  We are now officially announcing this is a reality. 

Working with Big and User Generated Geographic Data

(aka SheepCamp)

 (gratuitous Photoshop opportunity, there will be no bales of hay involved)

Pack your laptops, sleeping bags (not necessary but feel free to bring one), and data as Sheep Camp 2012 will be held on the University of Kentucky's campus on June 15-17.  We will be meeting in Keeneland Hall, a residence hall at the university that has recently been renovated with meeting spaces, high speed WiFi and break out rooms. Attendees will stay in dorm rooms (single occupancy) with a shared bathroom with one other room. The cost is $26 per room per night and we ask non-students to contribute to this cost if possible. Graduate students will have their lodging covered. We're also hoping to cover a lot of the travel expenses for graduate students as well but to be eligible for this please contact Matt at zook@uky.edu.

We are encouraging those of you coming from New England, New York, DC, Pennsylvania, and the Mid-west to carpool.  We have set up a message board to try to organize carpools here: 
Carpool to SheepCamp Lexington

Our preliminary schedule is as follows:

Thu (June 14): Arrivals (as they happen)

Fri (June 15):   Bourbon Distillery tour (early afternoon)
                          Arrivals (as they happen)
                          Welcome dinner
                          Al's bar or West 6th Brewpub for lightning talks, (maximum 90 mins total)

 Sat (June 16):  Welcome message/meeting over breakfast,
                           Keynote/agenda setting talk
                           Skills workshop(s)
                           Lunch (informal discussion of theory)
                           Group project work
                           Reconvening for some sort of un-conference type activity

                           Note: The  exact topics will be developed by the participants over the next several weeks.  But the general idea is to set up a research agenda for using and analyzing user generated geo-coded content.  
Sun (June 17):  Breakfast. 
                           Group activity / Group presentation. 
                           Lunch / Awards (people start leaving)
                           Un-conference / Fun / Skills workshop(s)

We've been in contact with most of our confirmed attendees (who registered an expression of interest), but if you are interested in joining us and haven't been in touch, please email zook@uky.edu.

April 23, 2012

The geolinguistic contours of digital content in Spain

Following up on our post about augmented realities and uneven geographies, we wanted to post a few more maps that came out of the project.

This first one compares content indexed in Spanish (Castilian) to content in Catalan. Throughout much of the Catalonian region in the Northeast coastal areas there is considerably more content in Catalan than in Spanish.

The second compares content containing the word "love" in English and Spanish. The map reveals that while the Spanish term is much more predominant overall, there are clusters of locations along the Mediterranean coast at which there are more references to the English word.

These agglomerations are centered in tourism regions of Costa Brava, Costa Blanca, and the Andalusian coastline and closer inspection reveals that these concentration of hits are tied primarily to tourism related references to hotels, restaurants and other activities that are target to non-Spanish visitors.

One key thing that this map does then is reveal how the audiencing of augmentations can be alternately directed to a range of groups: ranging from the highly local (e.g. interpersonal relationships) to the global (e.g. tourist sites).

You can read more about the methods we used and our full conclusions in our new paper: "Augmented Realities and Uneven Geographies: Exploring the Geo-linguistic Contours of the Web."

April 20, 2012

O Mundo Pela Wikip├ędia

Some of our work just got picked up by the Brazilian magazine Exame.

The spread offers an alternate visualisation to the data that we're collecting about the geographies of Wikipedia. It also includes penguins. None of us speak Portuguese, so we're not sure what the penguins have to do with Wikipedia. But, being the purveyors of sheep that we are, who are we to talk?

A PDF of the piece is here.

April 18, 2012

Matt, Monica and Ate Talking about IronSheep

Check out the new video produced by the UK College of Arts and Sciences of Matt, Monica and Ate talking about the IronSheep 2012 event.

p.s. It's not our fault Matt's name is spelled wrong.

April 16, 2012

Videos of Sheep

During IronSheep we played a series of sheep videos in the background to provide a certain "ambiance" to the event. It seemed a waste not to share them so here they are (along with a few other videos we've since discovered or been sent).


Sheep replicating the Game Pong, the Mona Lisa and Fireworks

Sheep Surfing

Monty Python - Flying Sheep

April 13, 2012

Where do Tweets come from?

Last week, we posted a map of all georeferenced tweets mentioning the #Kony video. The patterns were interesting, but not entirely unexpected.

A more interesting question though, would be to see what percentage of all tweets from each country reference #kony, in order to get a better sense of how focused people were on the event. However, to do that, we need to figure out how much content in Twitter actually comes from each country.

Mark and Devin Gaffney collected all georeferenced tweets sent between March 5 and March 13 (it is important to point out that we are only dealing with a very small percentage of total tweets here [less than 1%], and so there may be significant geographic biases in where/how people georeference their content). We then took a random 20% sample of that dataset: giving us about 4.5 million tweets that we spatially joined to countries. The results are below:

(countries are on the x-axis)

The bar chart shows us the degree of inequality in where this content is coming from: with people in a few countries producing the bulk of content, and then a very long tail of countries from which very little content is produced.

Interestingly though, it is not just the usual suspects that are producing the bulk of content. The top six tweeters are:

(1) USA
(2) Brasil
(3) Indonesia
(4) UK
(5) Mexico
(6) Malaysia

Only two of the countries on that list are in the Global North and traditional hubs of the production of codified knowledge. What does this all tell us then? It is possible that Twitter is truly allowing for a 'democratisation' of information production and sharing because of its low barriers to entry and adaptability to mobile devices.

However, we need to do more work in this area to really figure out where content is coming from in the platform. Our sample in this post was limited, and more importantly we are still only dealing with georeferenced tweets that make up less than 1% of the total content that passes through the platform. An interesting start nonetheless.

**We'll post the Kony map normalised by the number of tweets in each country soon.

April 10, 2012

A Map from the Vault: Bars, Bookstores, Bowling Alleys & Adult Entertainment

The other day when looking for a larger version of the Beer Belly of America map, I happened across a map that we made back in the early days of the blog in which we compared references to bars, bookstores, bowling alleys (an oblique nod towards Putnam) and adult entertainment.

For some reason, this map never made it on to the blog, but is worth revisiting. In it, the colors represent which of the four search terms was most prevalent at any location. A green dot means there were more bookstores, a red dot indicates more bars, yellow shows more bowling alleys and blue marks places that had more references to adult entertainment than the other three categories.
The pattern of more bars than anything else shows up solidly in Montana, the Dakotas, the Midwest and parts of the Northeast, with the exception of New England, which is interspersed with a sprinkling of places with more bowling alleys.

In contrast, much of the southern U.S., particularly the Southeast, has many more references to bookstores than to the other search terms. As this is a relative measure, this does not indicate there are more bookstores in the Southeast than the Midwest but that there is a greater number of bookstores relative to bars in this region.

Also interesting is the clusters of more bars along the Gulf coast (Texas, New Orleans and Florida), as well as the southern half of Arizona. This suggests that these parts of the southern U.S. have a different relationship with bars than much of their surrounding areas.

Lastly, the pattern of adult entertainment shows that Nevada represents a very different milieu than the rest of the U.S. The only other points in the U.S. where adult entertainment exceeds the other categories are predominantly rural areas in the Southeast and the central valley of California.

April 06, 2012

Mapping #Kony2012 on Twitter

A LOT has been said about the recent Kony 2012 video. There have been critiques, critiques of critiques, critiques of critiques of critiques.

Interestingly, there were many claims that video was one of the most successful viral campaigns in the history of the Web. In other words, the campaign was able to rapidly spread, in part, because of millions of people sharing it through social media.

And yet, we still haven't seen is any sort of time/space mapping of how the campaign spread. So, we decided to do just that.

The map below was made by collecting all georeferenced tweets containing the terms "#kony", "#kony2012", and "#stopkony" between February 28 and March 13.

It is important to point out that we're only dealing with geotagged tweets here (which account for less than 1% of all content pushed through Twitter). We also are missing data from some of March 11 due to our script breaking down (so interpret the data from that day with particular caution).

Nonetheless, the map still does give us a rough sense of where and when the debate (on Twitter) was taking place.

We start by seeing a small amount of discussion in the U.S., that quickly spreads to Western Europe (especially the UK) on March 6. By the 7th, the conversation in North America and Western Europe has become much more dense and widespread. We also see people in Asia, South America and Africa joining the discussion. Then, from the 10th onwards, the intensity of mentions of Joseph Kony on Twitter starts to die down throughout much of the world.

The results that we see here are perhaps not that surprising, but they do allow us to trace some of the temporal and geographic contours of a much debated social and political moment in the Internet's history. #Kony's moment of visibility was both brief and largely transatlantic. This Western-centric pattern of information flow is not necessarily surprising and can be found on many other online platforms. However, given the video's relevance to East Africa, and the global diffusion of Twitter (e.g. Indonesians form the world's 6th largest population of Twitter users), we might have expected #Kony to have a slightly less clustered geography.

I'll soon try to make some graphics that map Kony-related tweets as a proportion of the total number emanating from each country. Doing so might give us a better sense of how prominent the narrative was in the consciousness of Internet users in each country.

In the meantime, if you're interested in exploring the data in more detail, the full time series is included below:

April 04, 2012

IronSheep 2012: Team Mutton and the Seven Deadly Plagues of Sheep

Team Mutton at IronSheep 2012 won the "Best Map" (Sheep of Dreams) trophy for their truly terrifying vision of the sins of sheep.[1] And yet Team Mutton's presentation also contained a kernel of hope, in short, a guide to the sheep of the world on where it was simply best not to tread.

But first some reflections on how to best compete.

**** How to Win at Iron Sheep ****

By now, you’ve probably heard that Team Mutton took home the “Sheep of Dreams” prize for having the best series of maps at Iron Sheep 2012. I’ve been asked to add some of my reflections on “process,” so I thought this might be best framed as “the process of winning.” Academic mapping and lightning mapping for entertainment are two very different sheep.

Here’s how to win:

1. You are no longer in academic space-time.
Three hours is not a lot of time for anyone. Traditionally motivated research questions were quickly tossed aside. “How can we make the world safe for sheep?” quickly devolved into “which of these datasets are point values?” and “how can we get chupacabras into this somehow?” You might critically suspect that we may not have heeded the competing epistemologies embedded in the data’s production and that this might have affected our geovisualization efforts, but we don’t have time for that. See rule #1.

2. Get Lize Mogel on your team.
Seriously. Her illustrations are what made our maps funny. They also created a compelling narrative that tied together the diverse datasets we accessed. Kernel-density mapping of point data isn’t that exciting, and adding additional illustrations to cartographic work is historically a crowd-pleaser. This probably gets you thinking about the power of the narrative in mapping and the various ways that counter-mapping can critically engage a public without relying on high levels of technical expertise, but knock it off already! See rule #1.

3. Presentation, presentation, presentation.
You have 60 seconds to present your maps, not 15 minutes to wax eloquent on their various nuances (see rule #1). Think more about flash than substance. We used Slayer’s “Angel of Death” as the soundtrack to our presentation – nothing’s flashier than death metal. It also helps if you have an over-caffeinated team member who can do a passable impression of a carnival barker. Maybe this is triggering a line of inquiry for you about the relationship between the cultural trend of these shorter, more “informationally dense” lightning presentations and the extraction of labor value through technologies that increasingly do more work in less time…

**** The narrative ****

The Seven Deadly Plagues (Of Sheep) will show up right before the second appearance of The MUTTON as told in the prophecy of the Silence of the lamb. Just those sheep that can avoid the deadliest areas will survive“ … and that‘s why spatial analysis was invented.

Most of the plagues will come as single spatial events in an uneven distribution over space. The more events are around you (as a sheep), the more likely you‘ll be dead. So Kernel density estimation is the key to the knowledge, where to go. The maps show a rough calculation of each of the distributions of plagues, where dark areas are the most deadliest ones.

**** The Maps ****
Team Mutton: Holly Jean Buck, Joe Eckert, Stefan Kaup, Lize Mogel

[1] Note, that is is "of" not "with".

April 03, 2012

A new tool to explore the geography of Wikipedia

We know by now that all online platforms have distinct, and highly uneven, geographiesWikipedia is no exception. The team at TraceMedia, as well as the Oxford Internet Institute's Mark Graham and Bernie Hogan, therefore decided to make a tool that would allow people to explore what, and where, is represented in the world's most popular encyclopedia.

The tool is built as part of Mark and Bernie's project to study participation and representation on Wikipedia in the Middle East and North Africa. It currently allows you to explore the geography of all geotagged Wikipedia articles in Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, English, Farsi, French, Hebrew and Swahili. It also allows mapping of a range of metrics including the word count of an article, date created, number of authors, and number of images. 

A few screenshots of the tool are below. You can also read more about how it was built, or simply start playing. The tool is still work in progress, and there is a lot to add and fix, but we hope it is useful in the meantime!

April 02, 2012

Floating Sheep Sticker Bingo

Here is an initial sampling of sticker pictures from around the world, we hope to see many, many more. So please send your pictures in, we'll post all that we get. And to make things a little more interesting we propose that readers play a little FloatingSheep BingoRules:- Standard bingo rules apply, first person to connect five spaces in a row (vertically, horizontally or diagonally) wins.- Only pictures posted at the Floatingsheep.org website count but that means as soon as they post, everyone can use them.- The first person to email in an appropriate photo gets credit for that square.- The person with the most credits for the squares making up the winning connection is the winner and will receive a floating sheep ornament for all their holiday decorating needs.- If no one actually plays, we'll just award the ornament to our favorite photo.Need some stickers? Send me your address and I'll mail some out (zook [at] uky [dot] edu).
Sticker on a 3 year old, Minneapolis, MN(Note: no three year old's were harmed in the process of sticking.)
University of Twente, Faculty of Geo-Information
Science and Earth Observation (ITC)
(this counts for the university bingo square)Freud + Floatingsheep
Over Area51
Beauty and the Sheep