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Tuesday, 8th February 2011

New UCLA Project Streams Twitter Updates From Egypt Unrest on Digital Map of Cairo

From UCLA News:

"HyperCities Egypt" streams and then archives tweets from protesters in Cairo who are taking part in the pro-democracy push that has captured the world's imagination since Jan. 25. 

"You just let the program run, and you almost feel like you're there," explained Yoh Kawano, a member of the UCLA Center for Digital Humanities program, who built the program's interface. "It collects tweets live from Cairo and displays them in real time on a map."

Subtitled "Voices from Cairo through Social Media," the program displays a new tweet every four seconds over a digital map of Egypt's capital. Because it gathers tweets from those who have enabled Twitter's "add location" function, the program also maps the precise location in Cairo from which they were sent. And the Twitter users' avatars — often photos of the protesters themselves — accompany the poignant messages, providing a moving immediacy to the experience.

The program is a feature of UCLA's HyperCities, a collaborative research and educational platform for exploring the layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment. Examples include a program that allows visitors to explore ancient Rome and one that presents 800 years of Berlin's history. Unlike most of HyperCities' other features, "HyperCities Egypt" is not used to delve into deep history.

To experience the program, visit http://egypt.hypercities.com. Please note: The program was built to run on Internet Explorer 8 but also works on Firefox 3.6, Chrome and Safari.


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