Sense and Focus: towards effective location inference and event detection on twitter

Yihong Zhang*, Claudia Szabo, Quan Z. Sheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Twitter users post observations about their immediate environment as a part of the 500 million tweets posted everyday. As such, Twitter can become the source for invaluable information about objects, locations, and events, which can be analyzed and monitored in real time, not only to understand what is happening in the world, but also an event’s exact location. However, Twitter data is noisy as sensory values, and information such as the location of a tweet may not be available, e.g., only 0.9% of tweets have GPS data. Due to the lack of accurate and fine-grained location information, existing Twitter event monitoring systems focus on city-level or coarser location identification, which cannot provide details for local events. In this paper, we propose SNAF (Sense and Focus), an event monitoring system for Twitter data that emphasizes local events. We increase the availability of the location information significantly by finding locations in tweet messages and users’ past tweets.We apply data cleaning techniques in our system, and with extensive experiments, we show that our method can improve the accuracy of location inference by 5% to 20% across different error ranges. We also show that our prototype implementation of SNAF can identify critical local events in real time, in many cases earlier than news reports.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWeb Information Systems Engineering – WISE 2015
Subtitle of host publication16th International Conference, Proceedings
EditorsJianyong Wang, Wojciech Cellary, Dingding Wang, Hua Wang, Shu-Ching Chen, Tao Li, Yanchun Zhang
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783319261904
ISBN (Print)9783319261898
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event16th International Conference on Web Information Systems Engineering, WISE 2015 - Miami, United States
Duration: 1 Nov 20153 Nov 2015

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other16th International Conference on Web Information Systems Engineering, WISE 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Event detection
  • Location inference
  • Microblog content classification
  • Twitter


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