Geocoding Twitter users – The #SwissGIS map

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with some Twitter-oriented hacks together with my friend Tom. A very preliminary result of these activities is what I call the #SwissGIS map.

Some, just a little, history: Over the last few years, I have been collecting Switzerland-based Twitter users that talk about topics around GIS, cartography, webmapping and geomatics on a list called SwissGIS. Find it at, if you are interested in GIS-related news from Switzerland. The list is quite diverse in several respects: for one, it features GIS users, developers, OSMers, cartography specialists and other groups. Given we’re talking of Switzerland it is also multilingual, with English, German and French making up the bulk of tweets.

The internal network of users on the #SwissGIS list, as of February 2013

The internal network of users on the #SwissGIS list, as of February 2013

I’ve visualised the #SwissGIS list before on the Ernst Basler + Partners geoinformatics blog. There are also re-publications in French and Italian.

This time, we went for a more spatial representation of #SwissGIS users. By now, the list features 167 members, more than 100 more than when the above visualisation was made. Click through for the interactive version:

The process for creating this map was as follows: Using the Twitter API, we acquired data on all#SwissGIS members (with public accounts), extracted the profile location (if it was stated by the user), geocoded that information (if possible) and put it on a map with the user’s profile icon.

The heavy lifting was done in Python with Mike Verdone’s Twitter API wrapper. The map is built using the versatile Leaflet library and features OpenStreetMap tiles styled and served by Mapbox.

Ralph Straumann

Ralph is a world-citizen, a geoinformation specialist by profession, and interested in many topics. Here, he'll confine himself mostly to things geo-visual.

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2 Responses

  1. 17 November 2014

    […] idea to geocode and visualise devoted fans followers of Geohipster. I adjusted my SwissGIS map code and produced The Geohipster […]

  2. 11 November 2015

    […] maps sometimes, e.g. here for GeoHipster (thumbs up for Atanas & Co.’s initiative!) and here for […]

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