Twitter data heat map shows timeline of Ebola-related tweets
The recent Ebola outbreak is being monitored, tracked, and mapped by numerous agencies and organizations across the globe. To name just a few, NGA has created an unclassified mapping tool on Esri’s ArcGIS platform and hosted by Amazon Web Services; the CDC is tracking cell phone location data for users dialing emergency call centers in West Africa; and HealthMap.org has developed an automated system that monitors, organizes, integrates, filters, and visualizes disparate online data sources to provide a comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious illness. Collectively, these efforts demonstrate the power of current data-mining capabilities and the importance of geography and location for comprehending, containing, and combating this disease.
As global awareness and fears about Ebola grow, social media channels such as Twitter can likewise be used to reveal the timeline of public reaction and discussion. Simon Rogers, a data editor at Twitter, created a heat map tracking mentions of Ebola over a one-and-a-half-month period. Notice the explosion of tweets that occurred after a Liberian man was diagnosed with the disease at a Dallas, Texas, hospital Sept. 30. Ebola-related tweets per minute for most of September averaged between 100 to 200. On Oct. 2, Ebola tweets hit a spike of 6,271 per minute.
Click on the image below to view the animated heat map: