FluMapper: A cyberGIS application for interactive analysis of massive location-based social media

Anand Padmanabhan, Shaowen Wang, Guofeng Cao, Myunghwa Hwang, Zhenhua Zhang, Yizhao Gao, Kiumars Soltani, Yan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social media have experienced a spectacular rise in popularity, attracting hundreds of millions of users and generating unprecedented amount of content that increasingly contain location and place information. Collectively, the massive location information in these data provides an excellent opportunity to better understand many geographic phenomena and geospatial dynamics in a timely fashion. Recent studies capitalizing on social networking and media data show significant societal impacts in many areas including prediction of stock market and infectious disease surveillance. However, because location-based social media data are often massive, generated dynamically, and unstructured, significant computation, data, and visualization challenges need to be resolved. This research aims to demonstrate the use of massive social media data to interactively analyze spatiotemporal events across spatial and temporal scales, by establishing a data-driven framework using cyberGIS - geographic information systems (GIS) based on advanced cyberinfrastructure - to resolve aforementioned challenges. Specifically, FluMapper - an application on the CyberGIS Gateway - is employed as a case study to demonstrate the data-driven framework and seamless integration of massive location-based social media data and spatial analytical services within the online problem solving environment of the Gateway. FluMapper presents integrated results from two complementary spatial analyses: (i) an interactive exploration of spatial distribution of flu risk and (ii) dynamic mapping of movement patterns, across multiple spatial, and temporal scales. The seamless integration of these two analyses through the framework illustrates the potential of cyberGIS to resolve the compute and data challenges of analyzing near real-time social media data in an efficient and scalable manner and to support interactive visualization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2253-2265
Number of pages13
JournalConcurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience
Issue number13
StatePublished - Sep 10 2014


  • CyberGIS
  • data-driven analytics
  • exploratory spatial data analysis
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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