One of the big passions I have is working with the outreach programs at PNNL (High School, Undergrad, Graduate, or Community College students). One of the programs I worked with throughout the year is SULI (Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships) offered by the Department of Energy. I went back home to Richland, Washington to participate in the first wave of summer students symposium. One of the students, Claudia Gallegos, presented a way to visualize the twitter feeds from the Boston Marathon bombings. I contacted the student and her mentors to obtain her raw datasets and then import the sets into IN-SPIRE. The sets included data a few months up until the bombing through the days of the man hunt. A tremendous amount of information! Visualizing the tweets, retweets, the times, hastags and buzz words used is very interesting. Here are a few of her slides from her presentation.
Other applications for the visualization of tweets is to see the response of disease epidemics and natural disaster responses. It seems that the norm for people with smart phones, computers and mobile devices that the use of social media can spread information faster than a news reporter can, but it is up to the viewer to believe whether the data is fact or fiction. It was a really interesting way to see how social media can be used and visualized from a large dataset.
In this short week, I was also able to obtain an unrestricted Open Source Center account and set up a feed of data into email. The database has an advanced search feature option that includes from what source country you want the records to come from. In this case I had set up a search on Syria with source countries of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Israel, Russia, Jordan and France. The resultant records are either designated classified or unclassified. These emails accrued for a few days and I was able to input the text into IN-SPIRE. In order for these emails to be imported into the other tools, templates to convert these emails into XML or CSV format will be needed to define the metadata fields.