Geography 970

March 15, 2010

Twitter + Yahoo + Pizza + Beer

Filed under: Uncategorized — mattmoehr @ 10:42 am

I’ve been following some of the behind-the-scenes developers at Twitter and Yahoo since the beginning of our class, and I got the first useful bit of gossip:

That’s right, they’re basically trying to geolocate tweets by parsing the free text in the messages.  Sound familiar?  I think the only advantage that they have over our group is that they’re holding conferences over beer and pizza while we’re ingesting the toxic dust in Science Hall.

I also have a more in-depth point to make on the use of GeoPlanet versus GeoNames, but that will have to wait until this afternoon….



  1. Thanks for the speedy read and commentary. A slight clarification is needed. I didn’t say that “(Twitter are) trying to geolocate tweets by parsing the free text in the messages”.

    What I did demonstrate was a way that Twitter API developers could benefit from undertaking this.

    A subtle but very important difference.

    Comment by Gary Gale — March 15, 2010 @ 10:48 am

  2. The use of the WOEIDs might be just the ticket since Yahoo will allow up to 50k queries a day. However, does this mean it will require a two-step process to obtain coordinates based on the returned WOEIDs? Is there a look-up table without a daily limit? Let’s hope so.

    Comment by Jeremy White — March 15, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  3. I did try to comment on this earlier but it doesn’t seem to have been registered. Odd.

    To recap, what I didn’t say was “(Twitter) are basically trying to geolocate tweets by parsing the free text in the messages”,

    What I did say was that users of the Twitter API who are writing apps could use this technology to add insight on the textual content of tweets.

    There’s a subtle but important difference between “they” being Twitter and “they” being Twitter API app developers.

    Comment by vicchi — March 15, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

  4. Jeremy,

    As far as I know you can download the entire woeid database and install it locally. Yahoo recommends not doing this because the data is constantly updated but I think our project could benefit from having a local list of names, even if the coordinates and attributes of the places were changing.

    Comment by mattmoehr — March 15, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

  5. Here’s the download for GeoPlanet data. Only 100 MB.

    Comment by mattmoehr — March 15, 2010 @ 2:48 pm

  6. @vicchi no harm intended. I missed the comment in the pending box. Thanks for the clarification.

    Comment by mattmoehr — March 15, 2010 @ 9:08 pm

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