A CyberGIS Environment for Analysis of Location-Based Social Media Data

Shaowen Wang, Guofeng Cao, Zhenhua Zhang, Yanli Zhao, Anand Padmanabhan, Kaichao Wu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Social media (e.g., Twitter) data, often massive, dynamic, and represented in unstructured forms, contain tremendous quantities of location information for understanding spatial dynamics of geospatial processes. With the dramatic increase of volume and complexity of such data, geographic information systems (GIS) capable of data-intensive and high-performance spatial analytics have become increasingly important to take advantage of this type of data sources. Conventional GIS and spatial analysis approaches, however, are rather limited in providing such capabilities. Cyberinfrastructure, which represents integrated computing, information, and communication technologies for high performance, distributed and coordinated knowledge development, and discovery, provides a suitable means to address this challenge. Within such a context, this research describes a CyberGIS environment-a new type of GIS based on cyberinfrastructure, for effective collection, access, and analysis of location-based social media data. This CyberGIS environment seamlessly integrates a set of spatial analytical services that allow users to interactively explore spatiotemporal patterns of massive social media data. Case studies including detection of early outbreaks of flulike diseases and mapping flows of individual movement trajectories based on Twitter data are conducted to evaluate the design and implementation of the CyberGIS environment. The CyberGIS implementation encompasses a scalable architecture for managing and analyzing Twitter data, a highly interactive online user interface, and a set of integrated spatial data exploration and analysis services. These services allow for flexible data access and on-demand computing of multiple spatial analyses while enabling a number of users to simultaneously investigate spatio-temporal patterns without being concerned about managing the complexity of cyberinfrastructure access and social media data. This chapter demonstrates the CyberGIS environment in connecting location-based social media services with cyberinfrastructure for reaping the benefits of both.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvanced Location-Based Technologies and Services
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781466518193
ISBN (Print)9781138072862
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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