HyperCities has released a new project for mapping tweets sent by protesters in Cairo during the recent crisis. The project, “HyperCities Egypt: Voices from Cairo through Social Media,” tracks tweets since January 30, and continues to collect tweets sent from within Cairo that mention hashtags relevant to the protests, such as #jan25 or #egypt. We hope that this project will both make the experience of the protests more immediate to users in other parts of the world, and provide an archive useful for historians, political scientists and scholars in media and communication studies. The project has been featured in a UCLA Newsroom article and has received attention from the Twitter community.
The tweets’ location is based on the locations that Twitter users provide in their profiles, or GPS coordinates supplied by mobile devices. To protect users, coordinates supplied by mobile devices are truncated so that they are only accurate to about a kilometer when they are displayed. The database stores more accurate locations, but these are currently not visible to the public.
The project is the brainchild of Todd Presner, Yoh Kawano, and David Shepard. It is based on a tool Kawano had previously developed for mapping tweets, which Shepard and Kawano modified to display tweets from a specific area relating to specific topics, and added the archiving feature. Source code will be available for download and modification soon.
To view the project, visit http://egypt.hypercities.com/.