Have you ever seen a Twitter user with a pair of long numbers listed as his location? The example on the right is from the profile of CNN’s Rick Sanchez. Where and what the heck is ÜT: 41.273614,-72.751469?
Rick is using ÜberTwitter on his Blackberry to update his location from where he is tweeting. The numbers are the longitude and latitude of his location. That might work for computers, but we humans need some help.
I’ve created a little bookmarklet that simply finds a Twitter’s location on Google Maps. If you aren’t using Internet Explorer, all you have to do is drag this little button to the bookmarks/favorites bar on your browser:
If you’re using Explorer, right-click on that button, select “Add to favorites,” click on the “Links” folder and then hit the “OK” button.
Now, just go to a person’s Twitter page. Try Rick Sanchez. Once the page loads, click on your shiny new MapaTwit button and you’ll be magically transported to a Google Map of Branford, Connecticut (or wherever Rick might be right now).
The tool also works with non-cryptic locations that you might not be familiar with. For example, if you’re looking at Jerry Livesey’s Twitter page, you might want to know where to find Gavilan Hills. Just hit the MapaTwit button to find out.
Keep in mind, anyone can change their Twitter location manually, so make sure to take other steps to verify a tweet if you are planning to use it in a story you are writing.
Also keep in mind, I am not a developer by trade and this tool was something I created for my 140pix project. I can’t provide any guarantee that it will work for every computer on every browser, although it has worked for me on most major browsers.
Developers: feel free to take the code, modify it, make it better, redistribute it, etc.
What bookmarklets do you use on a regular basis? Do you have any tools to help verify tweets? Did my MapaTwit work for you? Share in the comments, please.