Tweeting From New Year's Parties May Actually Help Plan A Better World

Photo: Agung Parameswara/Getty

Local tweets can be used in urban planning and determining future land use, according to two computer scientists.

They have already done it in Manhattan, Madrid and London and have been able to identify, for example, nightlife areas.

Enrique and Vanessa Frías-Martínez, brother and sister computer science researchers at Telefonica Research and the University of Maryland, say geolocalized tweets can be a very useful source of information for planning.

These tweets represent activity carried out by a large number of people who say where they are at a specific time and what they are doing.

“Thanks to the increased use of smartphones, social networks like Twitter and Facebook have made it possible to access and produce information ubiquitously,” Enrique says.

These networks generate tags with an event’s geo-location.

Using Twitter, says Enrique Frías-Martínez, “you can capture information on urban land use more efficiently and for a much larger number of people than with questionnaires. Moreover, this type of consultation, traditionally used until now in planning activities, are very costly and can cause problems due to the lack of accuracy of the answers”.

In Madrid, the study found that night tweet activity is concentrated on weekends and in Manhattan on weekdays.

London is characterised by its tweeting activity in daytime leisure areas.

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