An algorithm for local geoparsing of microtext

Judith Gelernter, Shilpa Balaji
2013 Geoinformatica  
The location of the author of a social media message is not invariably the same as the location that the author writes about in the message. In applications that mine these messages for information such as tracking news, political events or responding to disasters, it is the geographic content of the message rather than the location of the author that is important. To this end, we present a method to geo-parse the short, informal messages known as microtext. Our preliminary investigation has
more » ... wn that many microtext messages contain place references that are abbreviated, misspelled, or highly localized. These references are missed by standard geo-parsers. Our geo-parser is built to find such references. It uses Natural Language Processing methods to identify references to streets and addresses, buildings and urban spaces, and toponyms, and place acronyms and abbreviations. It combines heuristics, open-source Named Entity Recognition software, and machine learning techniques. Our primary data consisted of Twitter messages sent immediately following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. The algorithm identified location in the data sample, Twitter messages, giving an F statistic of 0.85 for streets, 0.86 for buildings, 0.96 for toponyms, and 0.88 for place abbreviations, with a combined average F of 0.90 for identifying places. The same data run through a geo-parsing standard, Yahoo! Placemaker, yielded an F statistic of zero for streets and buildings (because Placemaker is designed to find neither streets nor buildings), and an F of 0.67 for toponyms.
doi:10.1007/s10707-012-0173-8 fatcat:e774x6nlafacnhkd7svqg6fu2y