While Twitter gears up to release a way to let users share their exact coordinates every time they tweet, Australian developers have given us a hint of such a service’s possibilities with Trendsmap.
Developers at Melbourne, Australia-based Stateless Systems have taken latitudinal and longitudinal data from users’ profiles and compiled their tweets into word clouds that rest above a map. (Stateless says they’ll start incorporating the new geodata from Twitter’s upcoming application programming interface for location-sharing when it comes out for everyone.)
Above: New York Twitter trends
Trendsmap is an intriguing mash-up that hints at many possibilities once Twitter begins allowing users to pair their tweets with GPS coordinates. It could serve as a basis for local advertising — local businesses could use #coupon, #happyhour or #sale hashtags in their tweets to denote deals that shoppers could look for on a map. A smarter variation of a map mash-up could be used to track the geographic spread of fires or weather changes. (One was already created to map out the Great British Snow Crisis earlier this year.)
Location-based services and advertising have been buzzed about for years and attracted a cohort of startups like Loopt, Brightkite and Foursquare. However, few applications have the critical mass that Twitter has accumulated in the last two years.
Twitter, in fact, gave a few more hints about how it plans to serve location data earlier this week at the Twitter Conference in Los Angeles. Users will have to opt-in to share data, and they might have to check a box every time they want to pair their location with a tweet. The company’s encouraging developers to “fuzz” the location and will delete the location data after about 14 days to prevent subpoenas, according to Gina Trapani at Smarterware. Unfortunately, scrubbing the data after two weeks eliminates a lot of possibilities, too — you can’t derive a user’s daily habits or walking and driving paths or figure out hotspots over several months or years of data for things like “burritos” or “biking.”
Stateless Systems says it has no plans to build a business out of Trendsmap and that it’s a project funded through the company by founders Guy King and Bevan Clark.
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