Geographic data in tweets

Jan 13, 2016 at 8:59 PM

My name is Simon, and I am a research graduate assistant at Cleveland State University's Center for Economic Development. The lead researcher and I are trying to use social media data to measure "connectivity" between resources and groups that spur entrepreneurship in each of the US's top 150 metro areas. I was exploring the beta version of NodeXL to see if it can help. It was exciting to use it with Twitter hashtags, but I couldn't seem to discern any reliable geographic data from the queries. The spreadsheets will list where a twitter user identifies with--if they chose to disclose that information at all. However, there doesn't appear to be data on generally where a person is tweeting from when they use a specific hashtag.

My lead researcher and I wanted to ask if geographic data to tweets is available somewhere in the software, and if not, are there suggestions on what I can do to find this information.

Thank you,
Simon Husted
Jan 13, 2016 at 10:10 PM

Thank you for the interest in NodeXL!

Twitter does provide location data on the tweets that users have allowed to display lat/long information.

You can find these columns in the "Edges" worksheet of NodeXL after a Twitter import has been performed.

However, in practice, we find that less than 3% of all tweets have their locations visible in the data that comes out of the public Twitter API. Most of the time, NodeXL has no information to populate the Lat and Long columns.

However, many users provide a text description of their location. While this information contains many possible sources of error, it may be useful to plot to get a basic sense of where users say the are located. This can be done relatively easily using the Microsoft PowerMap feature found in many newer installations of Excel.

We used Microsoft PowerMap along with NodeXL to plat the locations of users of a hashtag ("#scicomm") as seen in the video linked to this tweet:


Jan 14, 2016 at 3:03 PM
Thank you, Marc,

I will look closer into the Microsoft PowerMap program! You've been extraordinarily helpful!

Jan 27, 2016 at 8:26 AM
Dear Marc
I have a similar question about geographic data: Is it possible to search for tweets in a certain area? I tried to create a network consisting of nodes just from one continent, but couldn't seem to figure out how to do it?
Thank you very much for your answers!
Kind regards