טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentKhoury Sabri
SubjectThe Virtual Image of the City
Creating Virtual Image of Cities using Social
Networks Sites Information - SNSI
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Professor Pnina Plaut
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

The inventory of urban maps consists mainly of "still" maps, cartographic maps, and permanent statutory maps outlined at a time-point, validated even before publication and use, and used over many years. The main drawback of such maps is their "fixation" and their lack of dynamism and updating. This study proposes a new type of maps - The Virtual Image of the City - that produces a type of maps that is constantly and continuously updated, which makes the accumulated information easily accessible, fast and understandable to the general public, and especially to planners and decision makers. The virtual image of the city is constantly updated in real-time, the layers and the sorting of information produce maps that have the potential to serve their users according to their needs. They can choose the sort that suits their needs and the information they are looking for.

For the purpose of developing the virtual image of the city, the study uses the information shared on social networking sites (Twitter, Instagram and Flickr), and offers a methodology for using this information to create a virtual image of the city based on relevant theories and practices including mental maps, sense of place (“Genius Loci”) and geographical and temporal focus and "Big Data". The city of Haifa was selected for demonstration and implementation of the methodology developed.

Mapping of the information was based on the method of Behavioral Mapping and two methods of analysis were selected to identify and define the urban components of the virtual image of the city. Geographic and temporal analysis were created, and a series of maps were created where each map contains a different urban component. At the end of the urban analysis and identification processes, the research demonstrates a method for analyzing the content of the information collected in an attempt to identify sentiment characteristics for each defined urban component.

In this way, several layers of maps were created and with the help of a super-position between them an interactive 3D map was built that also combines the findings of the content analysis and presents a clear virtual image of the city. The map shows information according to the sort requested by the user.

The virtual image of the city does not serve as a substitute for all other types of maps but rather add a new layer of information as a complement to existing silent maps. This creates the option for map users whether it is the planner or the regular person, to get a clearer picture of the city they are in.

This study differs from many other studies in the field of BIG DATA in that it emphasizes urban spaces within cities, suggests a method by which the components of urban space can be identified and characterized using two SNS information characteristics- location and content. In addition, unlike most research that use Twitter as the source of big data information this study adds also data from Instagram and Flickr, where the emphasis is on sharing visual and less textual content and involves analyzing and evaluating images to understand sentiment.