A Searchable Real-Time World Tweet Map (d3/node/oAuth)

The app discussed in the post is available here: https://worldtweetmap-bflnni.rhcloud.com/

A few weeks ago, I put together a searchable US real-time tweet map of the United States, using d3.js and node.js.

This has been now been extended to the entire world.

Searchable Global Tweet Map
(here, watching the world's birthday well-wishers)
Available at https://worldtweetmap-bflnni.rhcloud.com/

The app works within the twitter 1.1 api search rate limits (180 calls every 15 minutes) to sequentially search various regions around the globe, using user-specified search terms. The number of results returned by twitter via this particular api can be a bit spotty (there is no claim of completeness by twitter for this particular api endpoint), but it still seems to work ok.

The app also shows a list of the current top trending topics in the world, and you can switch to those topics quickly.

Translate Tweets on the Fly

Using the google translate gadget, you can have all tweets translated to one of over 70 languages on-the-fly. This is pretty neat, although the google api can stop responding after a while (maybe due to undocumented rate limits there).

Default Search: "happy birthday"

The default search is currently "happy birthday", for two reasons:

  • it seems to always return a healthy number of responses
  • the results are usually (but not necessarily always) fairly pleasant ones to read

In watching these birthday tweets, it hit me that you could probably infer approximate global daily birth rates. I haven't worked out the details to confirm this, but it is an interesting potential connection.

Not the twitter Firehose

twitter makes it pretty easy for your app to get basically all tweets, using the twitter streaming api. However, if you are letting users search, it's up to you to store the tweets and filter them for the user. I haven't started exploring this, but hope to take a deeper look while still working within the confines of the free tier on Redhat's nice OpenShift platform.

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