Is this the structure of New York City?

Broadway as the spine is not difficult to believe.


Data from the Twitter streaming API (10000 points, 30000 vectors). Base map from OpenStreetMap, CC-BY-SA.


A set of the same technique applied to other cities

  • fake is the new real PRO 4y

    This is lovely. Congrats on discovering the NYC Subway system embedded in tweets. Can you add a subway map overlay?
  • Eric Fischer PRO 4y

    Adam, thanks for the link to your work. I'm not surprised that the same technique is also applicable to other data sets, and I'll be interested to learn about your other techniques for predicting routes.

    Steve, I was thinking the same thing about the resemblance to Voronoi diagrams, although here it is routing through the points themselves rather than through lines separating them.

    Peter, I don't have the numbers on the time interval distribution, but it is frequently hours or days between tweets by the same person, so they almost certainly did visit other places in between. I think it is still useful to know what sets of places are visited by the same people, even if they also visit other places that aren't documented.

    Paul, thanks for pointing out the limits of the technique. Perhaps it would be better to say the most interesting route between two points rather than suggesting that it is the most likely.

    Fake, thanks. I'll see if I can find a geographic subway map to overlay.

    A set of the same technique applied to other cities
  • fake is the new real PRO 4y

  • Michael Patrick 4y

    I followed the links from Planetizen to Fast Company Design to here. Very nice.
  • Eric Fischer PRO 4y

    Oh, thanks—I hadn't seen the Planetizen one.
  • Scott 4y

    Very, very cool. Thanks!
  • Jared Tarbell PRO 4y

    This is incredible. It is so beautiful. The resemblance to a neuron structure is striking! Great work Eric.
  • Ivan Boden PRO 4y

  • Alicia Lopez 4y

    Hi Eric,
    Would be a lot of work to apply the same technique to the city of Zurich, Switzerland?
    And yes, me too, I would love the opportunity to buy it in a big format.
    Thank you
  • Uriel LI 4y

    Hi Eric, I'm new here. I was astounded by your maps a lot. Thank you! Because "routed along the path in between that passes through the most other geotagged points", so the wider path will supposed to be through the city center, where is highly populated. Am I right?
  • Eric Fischer PRO 4y

    Thanks! I'll see what I've got for Zurich.

    Yes, the widest path will tend to pass through city centers, but the pattern of geotags seems to follow retail density even more closely than it does population density.
  • Uriel LI 3y

    Eric Fischer yeah, geotags may be generated around public and commercial points more. Someday maybe you could share the "twitter crawler" tools, it's really cool to do some urban pattern analysis via these data. Thank you.
  • Eric Fischer PRO 3y

    There is no real crawler—I just connect to the streaming API at and watch the tweets as they come in.
  • j_roberts00 3y

    Hey Eric - this is very cool indeed. I was wondering about the algorithm for the assumed paths. Does it have some sort of shortest route finder between two points along the Open Streetmap roads? If so, Broadway's likely to be very heavily weighted. With New York on a grid, and Broadway the only diagonal through much of the city, the shortest path will almost always include some time on Broadway, even though people are likely to avoid it.

    I'm not sure how this plays with your algorithm to pass through other geotagged locations, but the unique nature of Broadway in New York versus other cities might be a source of bias. They are very cool maps - I'm really glad to have stumbled across them!
  • Eric Fischer PRO 3y

    Thanks! It is not actually using the street network for finding paths, only the tweets themselves, so it depends both on the diagonal existing and on people going there to tweet from it.
  • fdqps 3y

    We would like to make a full wall print of this in our office. Is it possible to get a vector version?
  • Hoyin 3y

    Hi I have a completely unrelated question, is that base map you used a free resource? If not would it be possible for you to send it to me to use for a school project? Thanks for your time! I love the digital mapping.
  • Uriel LI 3y

    Hoyin it's openstreetmap i guess
  • fdqps 3y

    Eric we took your photo and made a wall of it at our office -
  • Marc Khachfe 1y

    Love it
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Uploaded on January 23, 2012
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