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Design Technology at the Intersection of Art and Science

A World of Tweets


A World of Tweets gathers real-time data to show a map of Twitter hot spots from around the globe.

In the current state of data overflow the need for comprehensive and recipient-savvy visualization is greater than ever.  David McCandless, infographic guru and author of Information is Beautiful, explains the need for using rich images to explain relationships between gluts of information:

“Data is the new soil. For me it feels like a fertile creative medium, and data visualizations and infographics are flowers blooming from this medium. If you look [at data sets] directly, they’re just a bunch of numbers and disconnected facts. But if you start working with them and looking at them in a certain way, interesting things can be revealed.”

If data is the new soil, then our Milan based studio has gotten their hands dirty by creating a stunning visualization of geolocated tweets from around the world. A World of Tweets (AWOT)  kicked-off as a personal project by frog Technologist Carlo Zapponi, who then was joined by Senior Visual Designer Andreas Markdalen. Both created a striking view of the world that provides a topographical image, but also enables insights into online media consumption in real time. The online app visualizes any tweet from around the globe, choosing from a variety of HTML5 based visual map views, labels and modes.

Tech Talk

Integrating technology and design, the application was developed in HTML5 deploying the Twitter Streaming API and the Yahoo! Placemaker service to merge geotagged tweets on one single map, processing more than 1.4 million tweets in just 8 days.  Due to the growth of automated geo-tagging via mobile devices, the exceptional tweet locations range from the Sahara Desert to Polar Circle diving to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Heating Up the Conversation

In addition to providing insights about Twitter usage from around the world, AWOT offers a broad variation of views, labeling and illustration, allowing the user to understand and digest an ever-growing set of data in multiple ways. 
For example, if you switch the visual filter to heat mode, the app heats up the discussion visually by revealing the interline of recent data sets, reducing Aussieland to a mere three splotched cities and leaving China off the map completely. Among the astonishing visualizations of David McCandless, our friend’s at GOOD magazine, and other visualization junkies, AWOT shows the significant power of contemporary data interpretation in visual coding.

Check AWOT or follow on twitter @aworldoftweets.