October 25, 2007


Twitter is a community of more then 500,000 users. Within this big Twitter community there are many subcommunities. Some Twitters users expressed their need to find Twitter users within their geographical area. But until recently there was no easy way to locate Twitter users from a certain area.

TwitterWhere generates an RSS or XML Feed to filter out Tweets around a certain area. The RSS or XML feeds are based on a city name, state name, or postal code and the range of miles. To access this feed it has to added to an RSS reader (Google Reader, Bloglines, Netvibes, ...). As TwitterWhere is parsing the Twitter public timeline, only Twitter messages from public profiles are known to TwitterWhere. Users who have chosen to keep their message only accessible to their friends (also described private Twitter accounts) will not show up in the RSS of XML feeds, although their profiles often indicate their geographical location.

TwitterWhere is developed by Matt King, an Interactive Developer living in Portland, Oregon. He took only a few hours to get this site running according to a post on his blog. Matt wrote the app in Ruby on Rails.

TwitterWhere was clearly developed with a focus on Twitter users in the United States. Postal codes only work for the USA and the range of the distance is miles, not kilometers.

I subscribed to feeds for several locations in Europe, the continent where I am living. I noticed that the calculation of the distances between two geographical locations can be improved. A few examples to illustrate this.

* Malaga, Spain is within 10 miles of Madrid, Spain according to TwitterWhere, 338.23 miles according to Mapquest
* Bergen-op-zoom, Netherlands is within 50 miles of Brussels, Belgium according to TwitterWhere, but 59.85 miles according to Mapquest
* Lübeck, Germany is within 100 miles of Apeldoorn, Netherlands according to TwitterWhere, but 271.36 miles according to Mapquest
* A Coruña, Spain is within 50 miles of Brussels, Belgium according to TwitterWhere, 1136.53 miles according to Mapquest

TwitterWhere is a nice new tool to support the Twitter community. I hope that the Dual 1.8GHz Powermac G5 server will be capable of handling the traffic as the popularity of this site will surely increase.

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