February 13, 2013

The Urban Geographies of Tweets in Africa

This is a quick post containing a few visualisations of information densities in a selection of African cities.

Below, you can find maps of all geocoded tweets published in November 2012 in Accra, Cairo, Dar es Salaam, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, Tunis, Nairobi, Kigali, Mogadishu, and Addis Ababa.

Look for the information presences and absences; groups of people who are and aren't participating in each city. But also look at the significant differences between cities. Cities like Nairobi, Cairo, and Cape Town are swimming in thick clouds of information, whereas in Mogadishu and Addis Ababa we barely find any digital geospatial information at all. 

If you're interested in why these geographies of information might matter, then check out any the articles at the end of this post. Otherwise, enjoy the maps - and please share any insights you have about any of these cities (or let us know if there are other cities that you'd like to see mapped).

Relevant articles:

Graham, M. 2013. Virtual Geographies and Urban Environments: Big data and the ephemeral, augmented city. In Global City Challenges: debating a concept, improving the practice. eds. M. Acuto and W. Steele. London: Palgrave. (in press).

Graham, M and M. Zook. 2013. Augmented Realities and Uneven Geographies: Exploring the Geo-linguistic Contours of the Web. Environment and Planning A 45(1) 77-99.

Graham, M., M. Zook., and A. Boulton. 2012. Augmented Reality in the Urban Environment: contested content and the duplicity of code. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00539.x  

February 07, 2013

The Maps of Sheepallenge

In our first annual Sheepallenge competition, teams from around the world (well, parts of it anyways) competed to produce the best visualization using a dataset relating to the seven deadly sins. We've included some of our favorite submissions below, but please feel free to comment and let us know which are your favorites.

In the Animated/Interactive category:
Interactive map of Political Sex Scandals: you must click on the link to get the full scandalous effect
(Montserrat Compa, Jasmine D'Angelo, M. Eiben and​ R. Gustas of Humboldt State University)

Coffee vs. Beer: an animated time-map of Coffee and Beer consumption. (Nathan Barth and Stephen Mangum of Humboldt State University)

We had two Seven Sins Choropleth maps:
(Matthew Eiben, Humboldt State University) 

(Gwendolyn Schaefer and Jordan Miller, University of Kentucky)

Animated wrath of god: Zoom and pan through natural disasters caused by sinners (Jeremy Battles, Humboldt State University)

In the Static map category:
Anti-Cartograms: Teriitutea QUESNOT of Université Laval
"Rather than highlighting devilish states, I preferred to adopt a reverse logic by building anticartograms.  These anticartograms are based on the mathematical inverse function (1/x) : the area of each US State is consequently inversely proportionnal to the number of Tweets included in each state.  Moreover, we know that the seven heavenly virtues are not exactly the opposite of the seven deadly sins. Thus, the title of each anticartogram correspond to my own interpretation of each "antideadly sin" (e.g. « Twitter Buddhists » for the anticartogram of the « envy » deadly sin)."
The Bacon Map: Miles Ross, Letha Gimble, and Lars Erickson (Humboldt State University)
"If you want to run far far away from your grassroots vegan friends and join the bacon eating bandwagon you might try moving to a bigger city.  The results from this map revealed that Seattle was the most infatuated with this lardaceous meat, seen by the overwhelming sized bacon strip that has taken over the Pacific Northwest in the map.  Chicago, New York, Boston, Wichita are only a couple of the bigger cities feeding into this fattening fad."
Sinners Across The USA: Tanja Hopmans and Sean Jansen (Humboldt State University)
"Proportional text was created using geotagged Twitter data with tweeted keywords associated with each of the seven sins.  The text represents the maximum number of tweets of the sin, normalized by country, the size of the text represents the number of tweets associated with each sin."
Crunk n' Bible Studies: Boyd Shearer,
The goal was to determine the mood of county’s population, whether they were tweeting more about getting drunk or going to bible study. Two groups of geocoded tweets were sampled from DOLLY for the time period June 21 to November 29, 2012. Roughly 8,000 tweets were collected for each population. The “crunk” population was created from tweets that said, “Let’s get drunk,” “Let’s get fucked up,” and “Let’s get crunk.” Minor variations were also added to this population, e.g., “Let’s get crazy fucked up!” The second population was created from tweets that said, “bible study.” Assuming authors meant what they tweeted, a rather unscientific sampling of each population determined an error rate in the sentiment analysis. Approximately 4 out of 100 tweets in the “crunk” population were of a mocking or derisive tone about getting drunk, while 2 out 100 tweets in the “bible study” population were not about studying the bible as illustrated in the following tweet, “Just got asked to go to bible”
Rich Kids of Instagram: Ryan Cooper and Sonya Prasertong, University of Kentucky
"Our visualization was inspired by the website, where photos that affluent teens/young adults post on Instagram (as well as their captions) are posted. These photos and captions are often an absurd/over-the-top flaunting of their wealth, posted to inspire envy amongst us lay people. The website is a catalog of these photos, and highlights this strange phenomenon of conspicuous hyperconsumptions represented through social media. By mashing the number of RKOI-based Tweets against median household income we can begin to query deeper questions of income disparities, material consumption practices, and what it really means to #getonmylevel.”
Each of the authors above have won a t-shirt award and a certificate suitable for framing. 

Honorable Mentions
The Good, The Bad and The American: Robert Gustas and Jessica Beck, Humboldt State University

Tweets of Chastity and Lust: James Knoer

In Greed we Trust: Catherine Hoyle, Humboldt State University

Lazy Humidity: Mark and David Cross, University of Kentucky

Seattle, Capital of Greed?: Lila Garcia, University of Washington

Sins Vs. Shows: Derek Ichen, Humboldt State University

The Evil of WalMart and Jersey Shore: Stuart Denoon-Stevens, Cape Town, South Africa

Congratulations to everybody who participated. The maps we received were fantastic beyond our wildest sheep-filled dreams!