Summize has already turned into my preferred tool to search for what people are saying on Twitter. Now it’s gained a way to see what people are twittering about near a local area.
Say I want to see what’s been happening in Newport Beach, California, in terms of Twitter activity. To do a local search, I hit the advanced search page, put [newport beach] into the Places box, and got back what people in the area are saying.
OK, there were a few false matches. This person is listed as being in the "deep sea" but shows up for that Newport search. But most of the people seemed to be in the area, with where they are twittering from being drawn off the location they list in their Twitter profile.
That brings up another issue. Many people Twitter when traveling. So relying on the profile location doesn’t necessarily means you’re getting twitters from a particular place, but rather twitters from twitters who are associated with that place.
If you’re not using the advanced search page, you can also get Summize to give you location results by using the near command. It’s like this:
So if you wanted to see what people were twittering from the area where the Chinese earthquake hit, you could do this:
The only problem is that Summize tries to guess at the location and how far "out" from it to look to find relevant twitters. With a Newport Beach search, it guesses 25 kilometers around that area. In the search above, it guesses 2500 kilometers out.
This is easy to fix. For each local search you do, you’re shown a map of the area on the right hand side of the page, very handy to confirm that the place name is guessed correctly. You can then use a drop down box under the map to narrow the range. Oddly, though, I had to go out 1,000 kilometers before getting any results to match, even though some people did have their locations as specifically Chengdu.
For more about some of Summize’s other advanced search tools, Mashable had a nice summary last month.