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Back to November 2012 Newsletter

Want to know what people are thinking?

by Ryan Coyle

Using Bing and Twitter Map Apps

If there’s one thing in the world that the Internet has allowed us to do it’s to share.  We share everything these days, from books, to pictures, to recipes and news.  The Internet has brought us together and we love to share all kinds of details with people. 

One way that we share things is through the use of Twitter.  If you’re not familiar with Twitter (www.twitter.com), it is an online social networking site that allows you to communicate with other people through 140 character messages called tweets.  People love to tweet about what it is they’re doing, where they are and most importantly, what they think of things. 

Now, if only there was a way to find out what people are thinking about things in a certain location.  Luckily for us, there is.  Bing’s map service (maps.bing.com) allows users access to a variety of apps which allow for the use GIS and other geotracking technologies to be overlaid against real time maps.  Some examples of the apps that are available are:

  • Urban Graffiti – allows you to explore urban graffiti in cities across the world
  • Roadside Attractions – allows you to explore roadside attactions, from the interesting to the bizarre
  • Weather – Get up-to-date weather data
  • Twitter – Get tweets from people in real time from around the world

The last one I think is the most interesting, although I can see that some people would find the others just as useful.  To use it:

  1. Navigate to maps.bing.com
  2. Click on Map apps in the upper left corner

  1. Click on Twitter Maps
  2. Navigate to places of interest

While it is sometimes difficult to separate the signal from the noise, the technology does offer the opportunity to get some real insight into what’s going on in certain places or how people feel about things.  Some examples include:

  • Finding out how your favorite sports team is doing during the game
  • Checking out how people feel about that new restaurant in town
  • Finding the hot tables at the casino that night
  • Knowing how an event is going, before you get there

There are, of course, some privacy implications that applications like these highlight.  Without getting on a soapbox about digital privacy, I’ll just provide you with some links on how to turn off geotagging on your mobile device.