Social media content for understanding the spatial patterns of urban leisure time

Authors: Tuuli Toivonen*, Digital Geography Lab / Department of Geosciences and Geography / University of Helsinki, Henrikki Tenkanen, Digital Geography Lab / Department of Geosciences and Geography / University of Helsinki, Vuokko Heikinheimo, Digital Geography Lab / Department of Geosciences and Geography / University of Helsinki, Olle Järv, Digital Geography Lab / Department of Geosciences and Geography / University of Helsinki, Tuomo Hiippala, Digital Geography Lab / Department of Geosciences and Geography / University of Helsinki
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Urban Geography, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: leisure time, social media data, twitter, flickr, instagram, Helsinki
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Bayside A, Sheraton, 4th Floor


The recreational use and preferences related to urban areas have been studied this far mostly in case studies based on one-time surveys, activity diaries, GPS tracking and participatory mapping techniques. These approaches are costly to implement and do not provide possibility for long term monitoring. This is problematic as citizen views are increasingly valued in planning processes in many urban areas. While social media data is rather sporadic and biased, it may provide valuable contextual user-generated information on the recreational use of urban spaces. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has recently gained enormous momentum due to several important and groundbreaking achievements in fields such as vision, audio, robotics and natural language: detection of visual classes in images, automatic speech recognition and processing natural language. In this presentation we examine the potential of geotagged social media data from Twitter, Instagram and Flickr in understanding spatial patterns of urban leisure time, using Helsinki Metropolitan Region in Finland as the study area.

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