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Making Big Data Small: Strategies to Expand Urban and Geographical Research Using Social Media


  • Ate Poorthuis
  • Matthew Zook


While exciting, Big Data (particularly geotagged social media data) has proven difficult for many urbanists and social science researchers to use. As a partial solution, we propose a strategy that enables the fast extracting of only relevant data from large sets of geosocial data. While contrary to many Big Data approaches—in which analysis is done on the entire dataset—much productive social science work can use smaller datasets—around the same size as census or survey data—within standard methodological frameworks. The approach we outline in this paper—including the example of a fully operating system—offers a solution for urban researchers interested in these types of data but reluctant to personally build data science skills.

Suggested Citation

  • Ate Poorthuis & Matthew Zook, 2017. "Making Big Data Small: Strategies to Expand Urban and Geographical Research Using Social Media," Journal of Urban Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 115-135, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:cjutxx:v:24:y:2017:i:4:p:115-135
    DOI: 10.1080/10630732.2017.1335153

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