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Event Detection using Twitter: A Spatio-Temporal Approach

Cheng, T; Wicks, T; (2014) Event Detection using Twitter: A Spatio-Temporal Approach. PLoS One , 9 (6) , Article e97807. 10.1371/journal.pone.0097807. Green open access

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Background: Every day, around 400 million tweets are sent worldwide, which has become a rich source for detecting, monitoring and analysing news stories and special (disaster) events. Existing research within this field follows key words attributed to an event, monitoring temporal changes in word usage. However, this method requires prior knowledge of the event in order to know which words to follow, and does not guarantee that the words chosen will be the most appropriate to monitor. Methods: This paper suggests an alternative methodology for event detection using space-time scan statistics (STSS). This technique looks for clusters within the dataset across both space and time, regardless of tweet content. It is expected that clusters of tweets will emerge during spatio-temporally relevant events, as people will tweet more than expected in order to describe the event and spread information. The special event used as a case study is the 2013 London helicopter crash. Results and Conclusion: A spatio-temporally significant cluster is found relating to the London helicopter crash. Although the cluster only remains significant for a relatively short time, it is rich in information, such as important key words and photographs. The method also detects other special events such as football matches, as well as train and flight delays from Twitter data. These findings demonstrate that STSS is an effective approach to analysing Twitter data for event detection.

Type: Article
Title: Event Detection using Twitter: A Spatio-Temporal Approach
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097807
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0097807
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 Cheng, Wicks. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1435036
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