Developing a mobile application for local community awareness based on social networking data

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Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
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Master’s Programme in Geomatics
The beginning of the 21st century has seen a technology boom that lead toward the development of social networking sites. The emergence of high speed internet, mobile devices and Web 2.0 has enabled users to add location dimension to the traditional social networking sites that has given birth to the location-based social networking sites. These sites have attracted millions of users around the world who share their location with friends and family. Currently 72% of internet users use social networking sites. This is producing an unprecedented amount of location-based social networking data. The objective of this research was to find if location-based social networking data can help in the development of a local community awareness application which can help users to find hot topics of discussion in an area and to know what people think and say around them. This became my motivation to develop Mapo, an android based local community awareness application built on the top of microblogging location-based social networking site Twitter, Google map and Twitter4j an open source library for Twitter. Mapo collects the location-based tweets from an area and displays them on Google map. After the development of Mapo, I conducted interviews among the students of Aalto university to find when and why they would use it. After interviews it was found that preferences changed from student to student and they used it to find different things i.e. what people around them think and say, events, opinion of other people about an item, street artist, restaurants and shopping malls. I have also conducted three experiments, the first two experiments were conducted by collecting location-based tweets from Peshawar and London to find if the application can help to find out the hot topics of discussion in an area. The third experiment was conducted by using the keyword search option of Mapo to find if it can help users to find items of their interests from an area. The results of the first two experiments showed that Mapo can help users to find hot topics of discussion from an area. It can help to find what people in a local community think and say. The results of the third experiment showed Mapo can also help users to find an item of their interest from an area.
Virrantaus, Kirsi
Thesis advisor
Ahonen-Rainio, Paula
mobile-based, location-community, awareness-application, social-networking, location-data
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