Twitter Map of the Last One Million Tweets

Caitlin Dempsey


Want to see where the most recent one million geolocated tweets were posted from?  The One Million Tweets Twitter map was created by Maptimize and shows the real time location of tweets from around the world.

The One Million Tweets map does exactly that – it is a Twitter map showing, in real time, the latest one million geolocated tweets using the Twitter stream API.  Every second the map is updated, dropping roughly twenty of the earliest tweets and plotting out the latest twenty tweets  (Maptimize explained that this was set up this way in order to keep its servers “calm”), keep the number  of tweets hovering at 1,000,000 or so (the exact number of tweets when I viewed the site at the worldwide scale was 1,085,956).

The actual tweet locations are showing as twinkling red dots. The cumulative effects of the tweets are shown using one of two methods: cluster and heat map.

The default is to show clustered tweets in regions around the world symbolized by blue circles of varying diameters.  The higher the amount of tweets in a given area, the larger the circle.  The total number of tweets is labeled within each cluster.  As new tweets are added and older tweets dropped, the affected clusters twinkle to indicate change and the size and number of tweets assigned to each cluster is updated.

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Users can zoom in on the map, and the clusters will re-aggregate.  Users can also click on clusters to zoom in to that area.  The number of tweets for the localized area is show in the upper left hand corner of the screen.  Zoom in to the hyper-local scale and individual tweet locations will be shown.  Click on locations with “1” (indicating an individual tweet) and a popup will show the actual tweet.

Tweets can also be filtered by keyword or Twitter hashtag (#).  When filtering by keywords or hashtags, the five most popular associated hashtags (along with the number of tweets) are provided when typing in a word. For example, I typed in ‘”Sandy” to see where hurricane related tweets are coming from and I was provided with sandy (518) hurricanesandy (89), nyc (39), hurricane (27), sandynyc (7).  Leave the search box empty, and the five top twitter keywords are displayed.

Tweets can also be filtered by short-term time segments, such as the last five minutes or last hour up to the last twelve hours.

Twitter map showing one million geolocated tweets.
Twitter map showing one million geolocated tweets.

The second option is to display the tweets as a heat map.  This allows the user to see the geographic intensity of tweets on the map.  For example, geolocated tweets (as shown by red) are dominant among major cities in the United States, Europe, Brazil, and parts of Asia.

Twitter map showing the heat map view for one million tweets.
Twitter map showing the heat map view for one million tweets.

Maptimize created the map as a showcase.  Maptimize is described as “a geographical clustering engine for online maps to display and analyse big geolocalized data.”   The company specializes in displaying big data (as in millions of data points) in a way that is easily viewable on a map. The One Million Tweet map runs using Leaflet, an open source javascript library from Cloudmade for powering web maps and the base data is from OpenStreetMap.

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.