Spatiality, Temporality, and Contexts: Geosocial Data as Evidence of Social Interactions and Networks

Spatio-Temporal Constraints on Social Networks Workshop, University of California, Santa Barbara, Center for Spatial Studies, 13-14 December 2010

Sarah Elwood

“My interest in and contributions to this specialist meeting stem from two strands of my past research: my long-term focus on the use of geospatial technologies at the grassroots, by laypersons; and more recent work on volunteered geographic information and qualitative GIS.

“From these perspectives, I read the call for participation as implicitly pointing to the latest in a series of developments through which the Internet has dramatically altered human communication and social networks: The rising use of online social networking sites, especially those that include a geographic component. Specifically, I refer to services that document network members’ presence in or preferences for particular places or locations (as in FourSquare’s “check in” function), or that enable geolocating of user-generated content shared through a social networking service (as in Twitter’s geoAPI). As these services have proliferated and the data streams flowing from them exponentially increased, there is growing interest in how these data might be used for a variety of purposes—improving real-time emergency response, investigating new forms of social life and social capital, or fighting terrorism to name a few.”