GIS and Social Media

Today I listened to a a talk by representatives from Esri, who demonstrated how social media has been implemented in ArcGIS. They first had us figure out how “social” we are online, by viewing a wheel of social platforms online. They then went on to discuss various social media developments, how they are used, who is using them, and why they are using them.

An interesting statistic that was presented was that 80% of Americans using social media expect emergency response programs to monitor social media. However, that does not occur very often – the best way to get assistance for an emergency is still to dial 9-1-1! But, Americans do have a good point. A few months ago, there was an earthquake felt along the eastern coast, and I found out about it through Facebook and Twitter long before any news sites had reported any information.

The Esri reps went on to demonstrate the basic uses of the ArcGIS applications, but then got to the interesting part – the connection between ArcGIS and social media. Like many other sites on the web, you can connect to social media share what you’ve found on ArcGIS, as well as share your own data and maps. But I think the best feature was the actual integration of social media into ArcGIS. They demonstrated how you can create your own map, with your own data, and then integrate Tweets into your map. For example, you created a map of all your favorite restaurants in Chapel Hill. Then, you can use the application to search for Tweets that were uploaded from any of those locations, or Tweets that mention any keywords you determine are related. Then you can view the Tweets right on your map!


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